1 in 6 Cars on the Road is Recalled, But Never Fixed
Picture this: You’re out on I-35 in stop-and-go traffic speeding up to 30 mph before having to jolt to an abrupt stop. You’ve changed your oil, checked the brakes, and had an engine tune-up. You even took it back into the dealership to have a recalled part replaced. Even though you’ve been responsible, there’s a 4-wheel time bomb not far away.
New research by J.D. Power and Associates reveals that one in six vehicles licensed to operate on U.S. roads suffers from an unrepaired safety recall.
More than 16 percent of the 45 million cars in the U.S. are subject to an outstanding recall. Recalls can range from errors in a back seat theater system to improperly inflated tires to faulty airbags. Some recalls that may sound minor could be deadly in practice.
Take the stickers that list inflation rates for tires on the inside of a car. What sounds like a minor fix could cost lives if left unfixed. Ford motor company’s improperly inflated tires killed over 200 people riding in Ford vehicles in the 1990s. Honda recently recalled the stickers detailing proper inflation rates. It’s a transparent move in contrast to Ford’s old history. Firestone and Ford share responsibility of lives lost or those who were injured due to the vehicle’s dangerous design.
It is the responsibility of product manufacturers to ensure the design of and manufacturing of a product is safe for the public. Motor vehicle companies should take great care to inform consumers about an issue rather than burying the problem and hoping for the best.
In recent years headlines have reported record numbers of recalls. This might appear alarming, but keep in mind that cars are much more complicated than they used to be. An increase in the number of auto recalls is most likely a reflection of responsible business practices, where auto manufacturers are acting to meet stricter safety regulations as administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Among those calls for safety is the NHTSA’s recall goal of 100% compliance. It’s an ambitious goal that would improve the safety of Texas roadways but has yet to come close.
Experts say that in order for car recalls to be effective that drivers need to be:
- Aware of the recall.
- To have repaired or replaced the recalled item.
Vehicle Defect and Product Recall Rights
Though every case is unique, it’s possible that opposing counsel could argue you were partially at fault for an accident that was caused because a vehicle wasn’t serviced for recall repairs you were aware of. A vehicle recall isn’t effective unless people know to and do fix their cars, SUVs and trucks. And it especially isn’t effective if drivers don’t even know that their car requires repairs. Consumers can empower themselves by looking up a vehicle’s VIN on the NHTSA website, safercar.gov. Before buying a car make sure that the vehicle has been maintained by the current and previous owners.
Personal Injuries Caused by Product Defects
- Manufacturing Defect: These cases show that the manufacturer did not make the product correctly. Under the definition of “strict liability,” there is no requirement that the manufacturer was negligent, only that the product was defective in some way. Cars have literally thousands of parts that are designed to work together, but if just one fails, the consequences can be devastating. There have been many product liability cases involving cars, everything from seat belts that do not latch properly, to tires that come apart. These problems happened during the manufacturing of a small component of the whole car. These types of problems usually trigger recalls so the car can be refitted with new items, but that is only after they are found by consumers to be defective.
- Design Defect: These defects are inherent flaws in the product from the time it was designed or drawn. They might include sharp corners or unprotected belts that can fly off when they are worn and thin. Bicycles are made with chain guards that are supposed to cover the chain. When the chain turns to propel the bike, the rider is protected from the chain by the guard. If the bicycle were not properly designed, the rider could have a foot or garment pulled into the turning chain, causing a fall. That could be very dangerous, but commuting in traffic could make a fall with a few bruises turn into a tragedy. Under The Texas Products Liability Act, the injured party must show that there is a safer way to make the same product.
- Marketing Defect (failure to warn): These are general warnings that have been omitted from a label that, therefore, failed to warn the consumers, who could have protected themselves with the proper information. These types of defects can range in severity, but if an injury results, the companies are liable for the damages. A good example of this type of defect would be a food label that omitted the presence of peanuts in a product. Many people are deathly allergic to peanuts and consuming even a small amount can result in a trip to the emergency room. Had the product been properly labeled and listed peanuts as an ingredient, the injury would not have happened, because the person would not have eaten it.
Auto Defect Claims
Many of the most serious motor vehicle accidents result from vehicle defects, including improper design or malfunction. Tire blowouts, airbag malfunctions, or seatbelt failure could result in catastrophic injuries or death to passengers. At the McMinn Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in the complex investigations and litigation that are a part of vehicle defect claims.
Vehicle defects lead to thousands of catastrophic injuries and deaths every year. We can handle the complex claims, investigations, and litigation related to vehicle defect claims in Austin and throughout Texas.
Any accident requires an immediate investigation to ensure that evidence is preserved and that witnesses are contacted and available. When you or someone you love is injured as the result of a vehicle defect, our attorneys will begin an immediate investigation to pursue claims against every liable party. We are experienced in pursuing claims against liable manufacturers, designers, and distributors of automobile parts.
We have experience with cases against large automobile manufacturers and insurance carriers, and will take necessary legal action to protect your rights and coverage.
Product Liability Cases: What’s At Stake
Because these cases include various companies, with a fleet of insurance companies, who have full-time departments full of attorneys to defend them, it is important to retain the help of an experienced attorney to stand up against their power. These cases are almost never won without a competent advocate fighting for the injured person’s rights.
There is something bigger at stake in most product liability cases. These products are sold all over the country and the chance there is only one person or family suffering due to a defective or dangerous product is slim. The problems with these products need to be exposed so others might be spared from the pain and anguish associated with these products. Companies make money selling their products to innocent, unsuspecting consumers. When they release harm among consumers, they need to be held accountable for the damage they cause.
Consultations are always free at McMinn Law Firm
If you are unsure if your situation would qualify for a case, call the experienced legal staff at McMinn Law Firm today to find out for free. We will come to visit you at home or in the hospital if necessary.