What re my rights regarding a faulty heater in a car that caused me to have an accident?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What re my rights regarding a faulty heater in a car that caused me to have an accident?

I have a car that’s currently under recall due to the blower motor shorting and causing fire. I was unaware of the situation as I had just purchased the vehicle. On a rainy day the heat was on in the vehicle when all of the sudden the car cab filled with thick smoke and an odor of plastic developed which caused me to choke and impaired my vision for a moment. I was taking an exit as this occurred and I hydroplaned and hit the curb causing an extent amount of damage suspension also paint and body. The dealership suggested that they need to diagnose the vehicle but was unsure on paying for the suspension repairs due to their part failure. What do you recommend?

Asked on March 19, 2018 under Accident Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

While you may well have a viable case for compensation based on the heater causing a burning and smoke condition and therefore contributing to or causing the accident, if neither the dealer nor manufacturer will voluntarily compensate you, you'd have to sue them for the money. That would involve having some auto expert (e.g. a mechanic) examine the vehicle and heater, preparing a report, and testifying in court as to what happened: courts require expert testimony for cases involving product liability or the failiure of components. You'd have to pay this expert yourself: you can't recover the expert cost in a lawsuit. You'd also need to hire a lawyer unless you are comfortable representing yourself in a somewhat complex case. Depending on the cost of the repairs or damage, it might not be economically worthwhile to sue if they don't offer you money voluntarily; however, unless you have the relevant insurance, suing is the only way to get compensation if it is not offered voluntarily.

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