Getting involved in a customized car accident can be challenging and devastating, particularly if you’ve been seriously injured. Sustaining an injury in a vehicular accident has several significant implications. On top of taking time to recover physically, you also incur financial losses because of medical bills, property damage, and lost income, not to mention pain and suffering.
Due to economic and non-economic losses, you should prioritize filing an injury claim to obtain compensation. However, you might not be familiar with the legalities involved. For instance, who is liable for the injuries you sustained if you figure in an accident involving a customized car?
Keep reading to learn more about car accident liability when a customized car is involved.
Driver Of The Customized Car
When a customized vehicle injures you in a road accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against its driver to get compensation for your injury. More than anyone, the car’s driver is likely to be liable for the vehicular accident that caused you harm.
However, establishing the customized car driver’s liability can be tricky. This is where an experienced lawyer from Hawk Lawfirm or other law firms in your area can help. A lawyer specializing in personal injury cases will be able to determine if the four elements listed below are present based on the circumstances.
- Duty Of Care
Duty of care means the driver of the customized car, or any driver for that matter, has the responsibility to operate the vehicle safely and to follow traffic rules at all times.
- Breach Of Duty
To prove negligence, you must establish that the driver violated the duty of care. Examples of breach of this duty include speeding, driving while texting, running a red light, and reckless driving.
With a customized vehicle, the driver may be liable for your injuries if he made changes to his car that affected its performance, making it unsafe. In this instance, the driver is a hobbyist who customized his own vehicle and may have neglected a crucial process in the customization work.
Another scenario is the installation of an aftermarket part, say, an engine enhancer, that boosts horsepower but makes the car dangerous to drive. The driver is also at risk of liability in this case.
If the customized car driver’s insurance does not explicitly cover customization, he might be saddled with the entire expense of litigation and paying damages to injured parties.
Aside from establishing that the driver breached the duty of care, you should also prove that the driver’s violation of his responsibility is the logical, natural, and direct cause of the accident and your injury.
In the case of a customized vehicle, the driver faces liability if the installation of the custom part or his error in installation caused the accident.
You also need to prove that your car accident-related injury resulted in significant damages, also known as losses, which can be monetary (medical expenses, lost income, or property damage) or non-monetary (mental anguish, pain, and suffering).
Generally, establishing the elements of negligence to prove that the customized car driver is liable requires you to submit pieces of evidence. Medical records, police reports, witness testimonies, photos of the accident scene and the injury, and other forms of documentation are necessary to demonstrate that the driver’s negligence caused the accident and, consequently, your injury.
Owner Of The Car
Most car collisions are solely the liability of the driver causing the accident. But the owner can be held liable under certain circumstances. These can include:
- Owner Entrusting The Car To Someone
The owner who entrusts his car to someone else may be held liable if the latter is someone who has a history of reckless driving, is unlicensed, underaged or inexperienced, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Car owners should exercise caution in allowing another person to use their car. Their failure to do so can make them accountable for a vehicular accident that injures other persons.
- Parents Allowing Kids To Get Behind The Wheel
A parent allowing his kid to drive his car is another instance where the owner may face a personal injury lawsuit. When an accident happens due to the kid’s negligence and the parents knowingly know they’re unsafe drivers, they may be held responsible for what happened to you as an injured victim.
- Owner Negligent In Performing Maintenance
If the owner allows someone to use his vehicle but gets into an accident due to the owner’s failure to conduct maintenance, he may be sued for a personal injury claim. For example, if the owner didn’t check the tires, fix mechanical issues, and refill fluids, any vehicular collision due to failed upkeep can be the owner’s liability.
The Car Manufacturer
The car manufacturer may be liable for your injuries if the car involved in the accident has a design defect or a manufacturing defect. In this case, you may file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
However, if the customization changed the stock configuration of the car, then the manufacturer may not be liable. Instead, the aftermarket part manufacturer or the one who installed the custom part might be held accountable.
Determining who is liable when a customized vehicle causes you harm can be tricky and complicated. A thorough investigation needs to be conducted to determine the nature of the problem that led to the accident. There are also legal principles to consider in proving the liability of certain parties.
So, if you find yourself a car accident victim, keep the information mentioned above in mind and reach out to an expert personal injury lawyer. They’ll guide you in filing a claim and recovering damages for the injuries you’ve suffered.