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The traditional view of a traffic accident is limited to a collision between drivers, with one or the other at fault. While this understanding of traffic accidents covers many different types of crashes, some crashes are not the fault of either driver. For instance, some crashes are the result of design or manufacturing defects on the part of automobile companies, which resulted in an unsafe product. Injuries from these sorts of crashes may be best addressed through products liability actions against the manufacturer. Other crashes may occur because of the road itself, perhaps due to poor road maintenance or design. In these instances, the victims may have a claim against the municipality itself for failing to provide properly safe roads. 

Products Liability

Products liability cases are cases against a car's manufacturer or designer asserting that some flaw on their part caused the accident. These cases can be broken down into two major categories for car accidents: design defects and manufacturing defects. A design defect would be a flaw somewhere in the safety of the vehicle. For instance, a car designed in such a way that the brake pads wore through too easily and subsequently failed could give rise to a design defect case. A manufacturing defect case is based around a well-designed car with a flaw in how it was assembled, such as a manufacturing error that resulted in the brake pads braking during the assembly process, leaving the car prone to accidents when driven.

Municipal Liability

Municipal liability cases are those against the city or state for failing to properly design or maintain their roads. According to a court case from the mid-1980s, towns and cities in New York have a duty to design and maintain their highways "in a reasonably safe condition." The case also provides an excellent example of the sort of accident that can give rise to a claim for municipal liability. In the case, the plaintiff was driving in the leftmost lane, and her car was struck on the right. This caused her to swerve across the middle of the street and into oncoming traffic, something known as a crossover accident, which could have been prevented by a cement median between the two directions of traffic. The state was eventually found liable because a report by the Department of Transportation from four years prior to the accident confirmed that the state was aware of the problem and knew that the median barriers should be installed. However the state simply never acted on the report because it was not considered high enough priority.

If you have been involved in a traffic accident, contact a Queens car accident lawyer today to learn about your options. Our dedicated professionals are here to answer your questions and help you understand your rights.

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