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What if a driver doesn't cause a car accident injury?

Whether you are tooling along the Interstate 72 corridor, making a run up I-55, or traveling on one of the lesser highways threading through central Illinois, the threat of being involved in a motor vehicle accident exists.

In many situations, perhaps even in most, the negligence of one person can be identified as the main cause. When that happens, the assigning of liability leads to the responsible person or their insurance company being held accountable for any recovery or compensation that might be deemed appropriate under the law.

There are occasions, though, in which accidents occur and direct human error isn't the culprit. Cars, trucks, buses and even motorcycles are complicated machines with a lot of systems and parts. If any one of them happens to fail because of faulty design, manufacturing or maintenance, and an accident results, a claim might need to be filed under a theory of product liability.

The thing to keep in mind is that the injuries, pain and suffering endured by victims are the same, regardless of the cause. But the defendant named for action may wind up being the seller of a product or the company that made it.

That defective products can make it to the consuming public and be a concern should come as no surprise to anyone. One look at the news headlines of the past couple of years should make that clear.

Vehicle ignition switches that can suddenly turn off; air bag canisters that can explode with such force that they send shrapnel through passenger compartments; other air bags that can be triggered if a door is slammed too hard; all these problems have prompted recalls. In too many cases they have caused serious or fatal injuries.

Even government entities might become defendants in a suit if it is shown that an accident was the result of bad road design, maintenance or poor signage or other defect.

But the legal rules of engagement differ depending on whether a defendant is a public or private entity. So, in either scenario, potential plaintiffs need to get the right legal advice in order to pursue a case effectively.

Source: FindLaw, "Car Accident Basics," accessed Oct. 29, 2015

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