Car accidents are caused by a lot of different things. While most of us have accepted the normality of driving to and from work, the store, and each other’s homes at death-defying speeds above 30 miles per hours, the fact of the matter is that cars are hurtling metal and plastic boxes with some padding inside. A single mistake on anyone’s part could result in crushed plastic, destroyed property, injury, and death. We’re used to thinking about car accidents as at-fault events, even though every (legal) driver here in Minnesota technically has no-fault insurance.
The Many Ways a Car can Crash
Car crashes as we understand them generally fall into one of three categories. The most common are crashes caused by collisions where one driver somehow moves their vehicle into another driver. This can be anywhere from a parking lot fender-bender to a highway impact with no survivors, but usually, one or both drivers are to blame for the wreck.
The second type of crash is driver vs environment. When a drunk driver rolls their SUV into a lamp post or someone speeding around a corner careens off the side of the road, these crashes are incredibly cut-and-dried. There is one driver, their victims are inanimate objects, and there is only one person who could be at fault.
The third type of commonly recognized crash is environment vs vehicle where the driver’s actions play very little part in the scenario. Sliding on black ice and hydroplaning, for example, both take control of the car almost completely away from the driver. While there are some things a driver can do to possibly minimize the results, a crash caused by the environment is technically no-one’s fault.
But what happens when the fault doesn’t lie with a driver or the driving conditions?
When Crashes are Caused by Car Itself
There is nothing more terrifying than a car that stops taking orders while you are inside it. As the driver, it’s your job to be clear-headed, have your mirrors in place, always stop for gas in a timely fashion, and stay in control of the car no matter what other drivers might be doing. But every now and then a person goes to tap the break only to realize that the break no longer offers resistance or slows the car. These days, it’s even possible that a failed automation program could disable your breaks, accelerator, or another vital control system while you are on the road.
Of course, the reason this situation is terrifying is because it is also so often lethal. Perhaps we hear so little about car crashes causing themselves is because the drivers often are not able to secure their own survival to tell their stories. But if you have recently been through an experience like this or know someone who has and was lucky enough to survive, it can be difficult to know what to do next.
Your No-Fault Insurance
The first thing to consider is that with Minnesota no-fault insurance will at least start to cover your medical expenses. However, this is only for medical expenses and lost wages during recovery. The insurance company is not allowed to delay your medical treatments while the decide if you are at-fault or not but they can absolutely give you the run-around about property damage liability, vehicle repairs, and any more extensive medical coverage that might be on your policy.
Insurance companies are often suspicious of crashes caused by vehicle failure for two reasons. The first is that there is no other driver whose insurance could be called on to lower the amount they have to pay. The second is that if you can be found at-fault, they can raise your premiums. This means that your insurance company is unlikely to be helpful and may be downright problematic in the event of a crash where there really are zero drivers to hold responsible.
Who is Really At Fault
Once you have started recovery, the real mystery of your accident is who truly is at fault. In cases of vehicle failure, this can fault is generally found with one of two parties. The first thing to look into is repair and maintenance. If you have been taking your car in for regular oil changes, inspections, and repairs, then the fault might lie with your regular mechanic. If they missed a safety risk in their regular inspections, if they installed something incorrectly, or they left something in your engine that caused the problem, then your mechanic is at fault and can most likely be held liable for both the vehicle damage and your injuries.
However, if your car was in perfect repair, your mechanic did their job perfectly, and something still went wrong, then the fault lies with your vehicle manufacturer. Your mechanic’s expertise relates to obeying the owner’s manual in the course of maintenance and repair. They follow manufacturer instructions to replace parts, refill your fluids, change your oil, and enact repairs. However, if the manufacturer made a mistake with a defective part, a hidden defect, or an inaccurately written owners manual, they are the ones who are to blame for the crash and could be held responsible with the help of a lawyer.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve and Bringing the Defect to Light
No-fault insurance is fantastic for first-response after a crash with no hassle from the insurance companies, but the insurance company is also not going to be there for you if your medical expenses exceed the no-fault limit. But you didn’t do anything wrong and you don’t deserve to bear the weight of medical bills and car repairs after this terrible accident. While it may seem like a difficult situation, there is absolutely a way to get the compensation you deserve from a manufacturer-caused accident.
An experienced personal injury lawyer has the resources and industry knowledge to help you identify the exact cause of your accident and hold the responsible party liable for damages. This is your best route to getting complete coverage for your injuries, recovery, and repairs but it’s also an opportunity to do an important public service. If a manufacturer is putting out defective vehicles, filing a lawsuit against them for your damages is also the language the big car manufacturers speak when it comes to making changes and keeping other drivers safe. To find a dedicated Minnesota personal injury lawyer and discuss your unique case, please contact us today!