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Who's to blame when mechanical errors cause a crash?

You were driving down the road when it happened. An older woman failed to stop at a red light. Moments later, you found yourself in a serious collision with her.

She claimed that she was trying to stop, but her brakes failed. She tries to explain that she just had work done on her car, but it's hard for you to know if she's telling the truth. You go to the hospital to get treated for your injuries while you leave her to deal with the police.

Later, you find out that there was actually something wrong with her brakes. She had just taken the car to the mechanic, and he had replaced a brake line that then failed. Now, who do you blame for the crash?

In this case, there may be more than one party held liable for your injuries. For instance, not yielding to traffic is negligence, but installing brakes incorrectly also shows liability on the mechanic's part. You may be able to file a lawsuit against one or choose to seek a claim only against the driver while allowing her to pursue her own claim against the mechanic shop that installed a faulty product.

If the defect is a result of a manufacturer's failure, the manufacturer may also be held liable for anyone's injuries as well as the property damage caused. In complicated cases like this, it's a good idea to speak with someone familiar with the law. They'll know who to pursue, when to attempt to pursue the case and what documentation you need against the other party.

Source: FindLaw, "Fault and Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents," accessed Dec. 18, 2017

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