In court cases involving automobiles, products liability refers to holding a manufacturer, designer or retail seller liable for placing a dangerous vehicle in the hands of consumers. If manufacturers become aware of these dangers, they usually make an effort to have the defective parts repaired or replaced at no cost to the consumer. Owners of recalled vehicles are notified by letter of:
- The nature of the defect
- Possible risks
- Potential warning signs to look out for
- What the manufacturer intends to do about the defect
- Instructions about how the consumer should proceed
The number of passenger vehicles or parts of vehicles that have been recalled in the recent past is quite significant. If you have been injured because of any of the following recent recalls, hiring a car accident attorney may greatly benefit you:
About 34 million automobiles in the United States have been affected by the Takata (a Japanese supplier) airbag recall. The inflators for these Takata safety devices have exploded and hurled metal shrapnel throughout the passenger compartments of automobiles at high velocity. Many car brands use these airbags, including Toyota and Honda. At least 40 million vehicles worldwide are estimated to be recalled. Takata has only made about 4 million replacements. It’s the largest and most complicated recall in history. While the announcement of Takata’s mistake was first made in 2013, reports of injuries and deaths caused by these defective airbags continue to this day.
General Motors Ignition Switches
As unlikely as it may sound, defective ignition switches in General Motors vehicles can shut down all systems, including their Takata airbag systems, while the affected vehicles are being driven. General Motors reported at the end of 2014 that they will be replacing the defective ignition switches, but until all switches have been replaced, drivers have been advised to have only the ignition key on their key ring. The weight of other keys on key rings is a significant factor in the failure of the ignition switches. Whether or not your car has a faulty ignition switch, carrying only a few keys on your keyring is a good habit to get into.
Volkswagen Diesel Engines
The Volkswagen “clean diesel” engine software was found to be altered for emissions testing in late 2015. The engine can sense when it’s under emissions driving test conditions, at which point it shifts into “test mode,” and therefore only emits what is allowed under federal law. After testing, the engine reverts to the original mode. The original mode of these VW engines was found to emit up to 40 times more than the permissible EPA limits under ordinary driving conditions. Volkswagen is expected to offer customers anything from prepaid Visa cards to other “generous compensation packages” in settlement of contemplated or existing claims. To date, $7.5 billion has been set aside to compensate customers worldwide.
Ford Power Steering
Ford Motor Corporation is recalling vehicles in North America as a result of an electrical connection issue that can cause power steering to stop and switch steering to manual mode while the vehicle is being operated. In May of 2015, the number of vehicles recalled was about 423,000. Class action litigation has been filed. Ford is fixing vehicles by installing either new steering software or new steering gear, a decision determined by diagnostic tests.
To compound Volkswagen’s problematic recall issues, the German automaker has recently recalled about 91,000 Passat sedans in the United States to repair poor cable insulation that can result in short circuits. There are no indications to date on how Volkswagen intends to remedy the potential defect.
Product defects like these create serious dangers for drivers and passengers of the vehicles affected. It is not uncommon for recalled auto parts to be linked to injuries and deaths. If you believe that you or somebody close to you has been injured or died as the result of a motor vehicle defect, it is crucial to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney in Savannah, GA. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation. Don’t wait; specific statutes of limitation apply in Georgia. We look forward to hearing from you.