Articles Posted in Defective Vehicles

When a 23-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant got in her 2003 Jeep Liberty, she had no idea was riding in what was essentially a ticking time bomb.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that a defect in the placement and design of the fuel tank in over 1.5 million Jeeps could lead to a fuel leak if the vehicles were hit from behind.  This could cause the leaking fuel to explode resulting in a fire.  NHTSA estimates this serious defect resulted in no less than 37 fatal traffic crashes involving Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured between 1993 and 2004 and Jeep Liberty models made between 2002 and 2007 according to a report by NBC News.

Jeep Fire Injuries Boston When this expectant mother was driving her Jeep Liberty and hit from behind, the impact caused the plastic fuel tank to rupture resulting in an explosion and subsequent fire.  When first responders arrived at the scene of this fiery wreck, there was nothing they could do for her or her unborn child and she was soon pronounced dead.  Investigators found the plastic fuel tank had not only been punctured in the crash, but had completely melted as a result of the fire.

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We all like buying new cars because of the many new features available as standard equipment, which were once only available on much more expensive luxury vehicles. These days you can purchase a Kia Soul with a heated steering wheel for cold Boston winters and air conditioned seats for those hot summer days. One of the more popular features, which is becoming standard equipment on many cars, is key-less entry and ignition.  This is where you can keep the key fob in your pocket or purse and as long as it is within a few feet of the vehicle, will allow you to lock or unlock the doors merely by touching the handle and then, once you are safely inside your vehicle, will allow you to push a button and start the vehicle.  In  many cases, you will need to also step on the brake pedal, but you will not need to physically put the key in the ignition to start your car.

Boston products liability Likewise, when you have parked your vehicle, and the vehicle is no longer in a forward or reverse gear, you can simply push the on/off button again and your car will turn off the engine.  This is a great feature, but it can, and has, led to many cases of serious injury and deaths. Continue reading

Most car accidents are the result of negligence of one or more drivers. However, there are some instances in which crashes result from or are exacerbated by the negligence of a vehicle manufacturer, repair shop, dealer or motor vehicle transport company.

In these cases, plaintiffs will pursue a Boston products liability lawsuit against one or more companies involved in the manufacture, distribution or negligent repair of the vehicle – so long as they can establish a causal connection between the defect or faulty repair and the collision.

Chrysler Group, LLC v. Walden

Boston Products LiabilityIn Chrysler Group, LLC v. Walden, a case from the Supreme Court of Georgia, victim, a 4-year-old child, was a rear seat passenger in a 1999 Jeep traveling 50 miles-per-hour when a negligent motorist in a pickup truck rear-ended the Jeep, resulting in injuries to victim. Those injuries were serious, but not life-threatening. It wasn’t until the vehicle burst into flames that he suffered deadly burns and smoke inhalation. Although his parents, acting as his personal representatives, had ample cause of action to pursue a claim against the negligent motorist (and did so), they also asserted a right to compensation from the Jeep manufacturer for product liability, arguing a vehicle defect was to blame for the boy’s death. Continue reading

There are various types of claims that can be filed in a civil tort lawsuit.  Briefly, according to the Second Restatement of Torts, a tort is an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which the courts may impose liability.  This definition is the one used by judges and is taught to every law student in America.  Essentially, this definition means that when someone does something that causes an injury to another person, and this is the type of conduct for which the court will impose a remedy, a case can be filed on this basis.

Products liablity There are various different types of torts, and there are also what are known as intentional torts and negligence torts.  For the purposes of personal injury law, we are mainly talking about negligence torts, though, there can also be a lawsuit for intentional torts like assault and battery, false imprisonment (civil kidnapping), arson, conversation (theft) and various others. Continue reading

A widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging her husband’s death while at work on an aerial lift doing tree removal was preventable, had it not been for alift defective lift.

Plaintiff, as representative of her husband’s estate, alleges the manufacturer of that aerial lift is liable for designing and selling defective equipment that was unreasonably dangerous.

Legal Newsline reports the product liability lawsuit stems from a fatal work accident that happened in May 2015, when decedent, working for a tree removal and maintenance service, was working as part of a team with two other men using an aerial lift to remove a tree from the site. According to reports of the incident, decedent was on the ground gathering up debris while a co-worker was working behind the vehicle when he felt it suddenly – and oddly – shake. When the co-worker investigated further, he discovered that the boom arm had collapsed. The third co-worker, who had been operating the lift, was ejected, while the aerial lift bucket violently struck decedent. He died of his injuries even before emergency medical responders arrived.  Continue reading

An alleged vehicle defect of the throttle caused a motorist to suffer personal injuries when the car rapidly decelerated without warning, according to a proposed class action lawsuit filed in a federal court in California recently. speedway

The lawsuit further asserts the auto manufacturer, Ford, was aware of this defect for years and failed to warn consumers about it.

Plaintiff asserts that the defective electronic throttle body control systems decelerate both suddenly and unintentionally, causing a potentially fatal error. The design flaw allegedly extends not just to the 2012 Ford Explorer, which is what plaintiff was driving at the time of this reported incident, but also to other models of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. Rather than own the error and make consumers aware of it, plaintiff says, defendant manufacturer has publicly downplayed the potential danger and has refused to offer to fix the alleged defect or to reimburse vehicle owners for the cost of necessary repairs. Continue reading

Tesla Motors has come under fire in the last year after a series of collisions – one fatal – that involved the use of its Autopilot assisted driving system. The question is whether Tesla improperly deployed and marketed this system, which despite the name still does require substantial involvement from the driver. steering wheel

The aggressive “beta-test” of its Autopilot self-driving technology forced government regulators to step in, with input from other car manufacturers, to consider how human drivers should interact with increasingly more sophisticated vehicles and whether the advancements were simply too much too soon. A recent analysis by Consumer Reports magazine urged Tesla to disable the automatic steering feature until either the software is updated to require drivers’ hands on the steering wheel or else until no driver involvement is required at all.

CNN reported federal auto safety investigators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cleared Tesla of having an inherent vehicle defect resulting in a fatal car accident in Florida in which Autopilot system was engaged, but failed to detect an oncoming white tractor-trailer against the brightness of the mid-day sky. The Autopilot system was built to keep a vehicle in its own lane, and the car is capable of braking on its own. The feature is designed to be used on limited access highways with on- and off-ramps and not, as decedent driver was using it, on roadways where cars or trucks can cross in front of the Tesla.  Continue reading

Over the past year, Volkswagen has been forced to issue a number of recalls for serious vehicle defects that pose risk to consumer safety.  This is not only involving Volkswagen models, but also Audi vehicles, which the company also manufactures. This latest round of recalls involves nearly 600,000 vehicles and is the result of two distinct defective systems.  This is not related to the defective anti-lock brake issue that already caused a major recall in January 2017.

carAccording to the Daily News, this latest round of recalls involves 2013 to 2017 Audi sedans and SUVs that have a 2.0-liter engine equipped with a turbocharger. In these vehicles, the electric coolant pump can become blocked while the engine is running.  If this occurs, the engine can overheat.  Normally, when a car overheats, the car will start billowing a foul smelling steam from under the hood and a temperature light will come on.  This will normally cause the car to stall.  However, in this case, the blocked coolant system can result in the car overheating to the point where it ignites into a vehicle fire, which can obviously result in serious injury or death. Continue reading

Volkswagen is no stranger to recalls.   Most people are likely familiar with the major scandal that came to light when federal regulators discovered the company was producing cars that would downgrade engine performance on “low emission” diesel vehicles during emissions checks at a environmental inspection stations.

carAs it turned out, the cars were quipped with software as part of their on-board diagnostics (OBD) package that would detect when the vehicle’s emission levels were being tested and respond with a reduction in engine output so the vehicle could pass.  This resulted in billions of dollars in fines and refunds for the company itself and several employees. Continue reading

In Jackson v. Ford Motor Company, a man was killed when he lost control of his 2012 Ford Focus and was in a serious car accident. His wife was also a passenger in the car the day of the fatal accident.  While she was not killed in the crash, she did sustain serious personal injuries.

carDuring the accident, after the driver lost control of the car, the vehicle reportedly moved rapidly across all lanes of travel and crossed over the center lines into oncoming traffic.  At this point, the car collided head-on with a large tow truck commonly known as a wrecker. While the driver did not survive the impact, paramedics and other first responders were able to treat his wife on the scene, so she could be transported by medevac helicopter to a local level-one trauma center.  Her injuries were considered life-threatening at that time, and many of them led to permanent medical issues. Continue reading