A vehicle rollaway accident may occur when the parking brake and/or other parts of a motor vehicle’s parking system fail, which then causes the vehicle to roll directly into traffic, various property, or other dangerous situations.
Some common examples of the types of incidents that vehicle rollaway accidents can lead to include:
- Colliding with multiple moving or parked motor vehicles;
- Injuring pedestrians, bicyclists, or other persons in the area;
- Doing damage to the surrounding property, such as mailboxes, lampposts, or garbage cans;
- Injuring passengers who may be inside the vehicle while it rolls away; and
- Causing damage to the actual rollaway vehicle itself (e.g., if the vehicle rolls down a hill, off a cliff, or into someone else’s home).
In addition, some vehicle rollaway accidents may be the result of shifting a motor vehicle’s parking transmission mechanisms when the vehicle itself is not even turned on or when a vehicle is in gear, but the driver’s foot is not on the brake.
These types of motor vehicle defects may be cause for serious concern; especially, if the owner of the vehicle leaves their children unattended in the car who could easily cause the car to roll away by simply moving the vehicle’s transmission out of gear.
Lastly, it should be noted that vehicle rollaway accidents that take place in a parking garage or a similarly enclosed space are generally more serious due to the amount of property damage they can cause in such a short time frame. For instance, since parking garages are typically filled with lots of cars, a single rollaway vehicle can hit multiple parked cars in a single incident.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a vehicle rollaway accident, you should contact a local personal injury lawyer for further assistance. A lawyer can offer advice regarding the next steps you should take and can help you file a vehicle rollaway accident lawsuit to recover damages if they determine that you have a viable claim.
Who can be Held Liable for a Vehicle Rollaway Accident?
In general, the majority of vehicle rollaway accident lawsuits are the result of there being some kind of manufacturing defect in the parking or braking mechanisms of the rollaway vehicle.
For example, if the manufacturer or an external car parts company that the manufacturer has hired installs parking brakes or parking brake parts that are considered to be low quality, which in turn, then causes a vehicle rollaway accident. In such a scenario, the manufacturer could be held legally responsible for the damages under a product defect theory of law.
In other cases, a vehicle rollaway accident could potentially be caused by defects found in a vehicle’s push-button ignition system. Again, this will depend on the type of car and which particular car part failed that ultimately caused the incident in question.
As previously mentioned, some vehicle rollaway accidents are the result of a small child being left unattended in a car and playing around with different car parts, such as shifting the transmission out of the vehicle’s parking gear.
In the event that this type of situation arises, the liability may be partially attributed to the parent of the small child. However, partial legal liability can only be attributed to a parent if the defendant in a case can prove that the parent was negligent in leaving their child unattended in a car and knew or should have known that there was a risk that the car could potentially roll away.
What are the Legal Remedies for a Vehicle Rollaway Accident?
As discussed above, a vehicle rollaway accident can result in severe bodily injuries and major property damage. Hence, why so many vehicle rollaway incidents often require legal action and court intervention to resolve any related disputes. Plaintiffs who prevail in a lawsuit for a vehicle rollaway accident will usually receive some sort of monetary damages award based on the facts of their specific case.
For example, a plaintiff who is injured in a vehicle rollaway accident may file a personal injury lawsuit based on a claim for negligence. If the plaintiff is able to prove that the vehicle owner was negligent in causing the rollaway accident, which in turn, caused the plaintiff’s injuries, then there is a good chance the plaintiff will win their case.
If the plaintiff is successful, then the vehicle owner will need to reimburse the plaintiff for any related medical expenses, such as medical or hospital bills, property repairs or replacements, and miscellaneous expenses like lost wages and loss of future earnings.
These types of damages are known as either special or economic damages. They are intended to compensate the plaintiff for out-of-pocket costs that the plaintiff was forced to pay as a result of being injured in the accident.
A plaintiff who prevails in a personal injury lawsuit may also collect general or noneconomic damages. The purpose of general or noneconomic damages is to cover those costs that are difficult to account for, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and so forth. Additionally, depending on how egregious the defendant’s actions were, the court may order them to pay some amount of punitive damages as well.
On the other hand, if a plaintiff is suing a business because the rollaway accident was the result of a defect in the vehicle or in one of its parking parts, then they will need to file a products liability lawsuit. In such instances, the business will not only need to pay the prevailing party monetary damages, but may also need to recall the defective vehicle parts or even the entire vehicle as well.
Additionally, if the products liability lawsuit contains an issue that affects more than a single individual and has caused multiple lawsuits to be filed concerning the same issue, then the plaintiffs may be able to bring a class action lawsuit. Class action lawsuits also often result in large monetary damages awards or settlements.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Vehicle Rollaway Accident?
Lawsuits concerning vehicle rollaway accidents can be difficult to resolve without the assistance of a lawyer. In general, vehicle rollaway accident cases tend to have complex legal issues that involve multiple parties and various fields of law. Thus, you may want to consider hiring a local car accident lawyer if you or one of your loved ones has been injured or affected by a vehicle rollaway accident.
An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to review the specific facts of your case and can determine if you have a viable claim. Depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer will also be able to discuss the potential legal remedies that you might be able to recover, or alternatively, whether there are any defenses available that you may be able to raise against a claim.
Additionally, your lawyer can help you prepare and file a vehicle rollaway accident lawsuit and can answer any questions you may have about your case. Your lawyer will also be able to provide representation in court and/or at a settlement conference, as well as can enter into negotiations on your behalf with an auto insurance company.