Defective Vehicles

In most car accident cases, the driver or owner of a vehicle is liable for consequent damages.  However, there are instances in which someone else, apart from the driver or owner, can also be liable.  This article will discuss who else can be held liable for damages resulting from a car accident in California.

If you want to seek compensation for your car accident injuries caused by a defective vehicle, our Sacramento car accident attorney can help. Our auto accident attorney can help you get a better understanding of the issues involved and liable parties. To learn more about your case, call us at (916) 270-6880 for a free consultation.

Manufacturer & Sellers

Liability can attach to the manufacturer and seller of a car if they knowingly sell a defective vehicle, and the defect is the proximate cause of the injuries. Just like drivers, manufacturers must exercise care in producing their vehicles. Violating this duty is considered negligence.

In holding a manufacturer or seller liable, it is important to note whether the vehicle was sold in a brand-new or used condition.

How I Can Help You

I help clients secure financial compensation for their injuries. Specifically, I help injured clients recover compensation from insurance companies, negligent drivers, and other liable parties.

The first step to financial recovery is a free consultation. Call my office at (916) 270-6880 Monday – Saturday from 8 AM to 6 PM to learn more about your personal injury rights and damages.

New Vehicles

A manufacturer who knowingly placed a defective product on the market might be liable if the product defect is the proximate cause of the injury sustained. For example, a manufacturer is liable if their vehicle has defective brakes, and a driver loses control of the car while driving because of the defective brake.

The defect must be the proximate cause of the injury for the manufacturer to be held responsible. For example, if a car had defective headlights, but excessive speed caused the injury. The manufacturer may not be held liable.

A manufacturer also must observe the standards set forth by law. The standards and requirements usually depend on the kind and type of vehicle in question. Below is a short discussion of the standards expected from a manufacturer of vehicles.

Lighting Requirements

Manufacturers must equip a vehicle with lighting that works during periods of darkness. Lighting is also required for use during inclement weather. The type and kind of vehicle will determine the required lighting. There are also different lighting requirements such as headlamps, auxiliary lamps, parking lamps, etc. For example, requirements for lighting used in motorcycles are different from those used in four-wheel-drive vehicles. Thus, it’s important to note the make and type of your vehicle if your case involves defective lighting.

Presumption of negligence would come into play if the defect were the proximate cause of the injury sustained. This springs from the breach of the manufacturer’s duty of care. The case usually has to go to court to determine if the defect was the proximate cause of the injury. It is a question of fact that has to be proven in court by an attorney.


As with lighting requirements, the brake system requirements for a vehicle vary depending on the type and kind of vehicle in question. However, the general rule is that the brakes should be in good working order and maintained regularly. The brakes provided in a vehicle by a manufacturer must be sufficient to control the vehicle’s movement under all loading conditions.

The minimum standard under the law for the efficiency of brake systems is that any vehicle must be able to halt from a speed of 20 miles per hour in specified distances, depending on the class of vehicle.

Used Vehicles

The rules are a little more relaxed in the case of used vehicles. The law does not expect sellers of used vehicles to scrutinize every single part. Sellers of used vehicles also do not ensure the safety of the cars they sell. However, the law still expects sellers of used vehicles to conduct a reasonable inspection for defects in the vehicle sold. The buyer of a used car may recover from a used car dealer if it appears that the defect that resulted from the injury could have been discovered with a prudent inspection.

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