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Can Car Safety Ratings and Recalls Affect Illinois At-Fault Traffic Accidents?

Over the years there have been a huge number of recalls on vehicles which were found to be safety risks by the IIHS, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and many of those were the result of investigations after traffic accidents. If you have been involved in what was considered to be an at-fault accident and the vehicle you were driving should have been recalled, you would be best served in Illinois by a Chicago traffic attorney.

You Will Be Fighting an Uphill Battle

While you may have just cause to make a claim that a defective vehicle was the ultimate cause of the accident, it can be argued that as the owner, it was your responsibility to know your car. Have you owned it for any length of time? Were you aware of any recalls due to safety issues but failed to turn your car in for repairs or replacements? All these things will be considered, and it may take some serious litigation to prove that you were uninformed and unaware of any problems leading up to the failure resulting in an accident.

Your Attorney May Fight for Punitive Damages

Oddly, it can be easier than you think to win a case against a vehicle manufacturer once you’ve established you had no prior knowledge of the defect. A good traffic attorney can seek punitive damages from the manufacturer above and beyond any personal/bodily injury or property claims. It is often noted that a manufacturer may look at the cost of changing a design only to ignore the safety issues because of what it will cost them to recall and redesign defective parts or assembly.

Apparently, it has been argued that it costs less for a manufacturer to pay punitive damages as they arise than to recall vehicles. If this can be proven in a court of law, your chances of winning a traffic violation in a previously held to be at-fault accident are better than good.

Before You Buy a New Vehicle

No one wants to live with the fact that they were responsible for damages, injuries or fatalities due to an at-fault accident. That goes without saying. It is therefore suggested that you always read the IIHS safety ratings on any vehicle you are about to purchase. If those ratings are acceptable, you should keep a copy for your file in the event that you should ever need to defend yourself in traffic court. What if you weren’t involved in an auto accident but were given a speeding ticket when your speedometer wasn’t calibrated accurately or the gas pedal stuck? It isn’t unheard of for pedals to stick, brake or accelerate, and it likewise isn’t unheard of to win a case in court if those issues could be proven.

Car safety ratings can impact the decision of who carries fault in an accident, but it is up to you as the vehicle’s owner to know the car you are driving. If you ignore safety ratings, then you could still be held liable. Your best defense is a good attorney. That’s the bottom line.