Articles Posted in Defective Vehicles

In Hinrichs v. General Motors of Canada, Ltd., an appeal before the Supreme Court of Alabama, plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a 2004 GMC pickup truck when he suffered a serious injury to his spinal cord. He was reportedly a victim of a drunk driver.

According to court records, plaintiff was in the pickup truck being driven by his friend when another driver allegedly ran a stop sign and collided with them.  That motorist was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.  When the collision occurred, the pickup truck in which plaintiff was riding flipped over and rolled twice, resulting in substantial damage to the vehicle.  The point of the collision was the passenger door where plaintiff was sitting.  Fortunately, he was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the serious car accident, sodriver he was not ejected from the vehicle.  When not wearing a seat belt, ejections are common and can often result in death. Continue reading

According to a recent news feature from USA Today, General Motors has just announced they will recall 4.3 million vehicles as result of a problem with the airbag control system.  There has been one death as well as several injuries linked to this particular airbag issue.

dashboard-air-grill-1192876-225x300The problem is related to the software that controls airbag deployment in the front of the vehicle.  The software issue caused the system to go into test mode when the vehicle was in motion as opposed to when it was first turned on and all of the system runs a test and diagnostic mode.  While it is not exactly clear how this happens based upon reports, the computer may have be able to disengage the seat belt retention mechanism when the airbag was in test mode. Continue reading

Facing hundreds of personal injury product liability lawsuits over defective ignition switches, General Motors this year has faced down the first of thousands of these cases. Surprisingly, the company thus far has been fairly successful. The first three cases ended in their favor, with two of them dismissed (one after plaintiff was deemed not credible) and a third following a trial in which jurors decided the vehicle in question was defective and unreasonably dangerous, but it wasn’t the cause of plaintiff’s injuries. driver

Now, the company has chosen for the first time to settle one of these bellwether cases. That’s critical here because it could well determine how the company proceeds with other pending product defect lawsuits – particularly those that ended in fatality.

The auto manufacturer has recalled some 2.6 million of its small cars with the faulty ignition switch issue, which causes power to be suddenly cut from a moving vehicle. Not only is that especially dangerous because it causes a driver to lose control of the vehicle, it also shuts down critical safety systems, like airbags and brakes.  Continue reading

A Texas woman was awarded nearly $16 million against a Rhode Island company after she became quadriplegic after a utility vehicle ran her over while she was working on her family’s farm. ward1

The $15.8 million verdict is reportedly the highest personal injury damage award doled out in the federal U.S. Western District of Texas, though plaintiff will reportedly only receive about half of that due to a finding of 50 percent contributory negligence. Based on Texas’ modified comparative fault with a 51 percent bar (the same standard used in Massachusetts), that was almost enough to prohibit collection of any damages at all.

According to court records in Nestor v. Textron, Inc., the accident involved a vehicle called the E-Z-Go Workhorse cart. It looks something like a golf cart, but it’s designed to haul material. It was December 2011 and plaintiff was working alone on the ranch, using the vehicle to help her with feeding and moving livestock around the property. Plaintiff alleges that she stopped at a gate to open it. She took her foot off the accelerator, which stopped the engine. However, as she was opening the gate with her back to the vehicle, one of the cubes of cattle feed fell onto the acceleration pedal. The engine started. The vehicle thrust forward. The force knocked her to the ground and the vehicle ran her over. As a result, she is now paralyzed from the neck down.  Continue reading

According to a recent news article from CBS, Ford Motor Company is recalling approximately 391,000 Ford Ranger pickups manufactured between the years 2004 and 2006 after man died as a result on an airbag explosion.

dashboard-air-grill-1192876-225x300The recall was announced a few days after officials in South Carolina announced that a 52-year-old man from Kershaw was killed as result one of these defective airbags. Authorities say he was driving his Ford Ranger when he crashed into a cow that was in the road. After hitting the cow, he spun into a fence. His airbag deployed at some point during this accident, either when he hit the cow or the fence. Continue reading

Daniel v. Ford Motor Company, a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, involved a plaintiff who filed a class action lawsuit against defendant in which he alleged that defendant breached its implied and express warranties and also engaged in fraud when selling vehicles with a defectively manufactured rear suspension system.

gavel-952313-mIn the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) as adopted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, any merchant who sells a product to a consumer makes an implied warranty of merchantability. In this context, merchant means a regular seller of goods of a type. For example, if you buy a toaster oven from Sears, they are regular seller of that item and are therefore a merchant of goods of that kind. On the other hand, if you buy a lawnmower off Craigslist, it is more likely than not that the seller of the lawnmower was a not a lawnmower dealer but was simply selling his or her own used lawnmower. Since the seller is not a merchant, he or she is not giving an implied warranty of merchantability. However, he or she would still be liable for negligence if there was a known defect that caused a personal injury to buyer, and that known defect was never disclosed. Continue reading

Book v. Voma Tire Corp., a case from the Supreme Court of Iowa, involved a lawsuit brought by the mother of a teen employee of an automotivbe shop. The shop, owned by teen’s father, purchased four tires from an Iowa retailer, and the tires were manufactured in China.

tyres-1446041-m.jpgIn 2009, plaintiff’s son was working part time at the service shop through an apprenticeship program administered by his high school. The shop agreed to install four new tires on a customer’s horse trailer. The shop purchased the new tires from the Iowa retailer and began installing them on customer’s horse trailer. The teens’ father/shop owner attempted to set a 16.5″ inch tire on an older model 16″ rim. According to court records, this was a common mistake in the auto service industry.

The father was distracted when the telephone rang and left the tire mounted on the wheel, but it was not yet fully inflated. When plaintiff’s son and fellow employee walked into the shop, they began to air up the tire without checking with the father. The tire exploded and severely injured plaintiff’s son. He was blinded in one eye, and lost part of his jaw. He also lost most of his sense of taste and smell as result of the tire explosion. He has undergone extensive rehabilitation and seen dozens of specialists to treat his injuries.
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According to a recent news report from the New York Times, Graco has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a lawsuit alleging defendant took too long to settle claims that it failed to act quickly to recall 4 million defective car seats.

seatbelt-602535-m.jpgPlaintiffs alleged defendant’s car seats were manufactured with a defective buckle, making it hard for first responders and parents to free a child in the event of an emergency, and federal regulators confirmed the problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated defendant would pay $3 million to plaintiffs and spend an additional $7 million to develop safety programs to prevent future injuries to children. Defendant was not required to accept liability as part of the settlement and has continued to allege any problem with the buckles was only caused by children spilling food and beverages on them.
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With the recent announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that another 2.1 million vehicles are recalled due to faulty crash sensors that could result in sudden and unnecessary airbag deployment, we see a continuation of what was an especially awful year for the auto industry – and consumers.
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Reports are that 2014 was a record year for auto recalls in the U.S., with 60 million vehicles recalled between Jan. 1 and Dec. 30. That is more than twice as many as the previous annual record number of recalls, which was set in 2004.

With a total of 700 vehicle recall announcements last year, it averaged out to about two every day, with one in five vehicles on the road affected.
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Air bags are supposed to protect you in the event of an accident and if an air bag does not deploy when it is needed, serious or even fatal injury could result. At the same time, an air bag deploys at high speeds and if it deploys at the wrong time, it could cause a devastating accident. Because it is so important for air bags to work correctly, vehicle manufacturers must exercise care in the design and installation of air bags to ensure there are no problems. airbag-control-743960-m.jpg

Unfortunately, issues have arisen with air bags in certain Toyota vehicles including the 2012 and 2013 Toyota Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza vehicles. Our Boston defective products lawyers know that Toyota has recalled 885,000 vehicles worldwide as a result of potential air bag problems. An estimated 803,000 of the vehicles affected by the recall, including both crossovers and sedans, were sold in the United States. Drivers need to be sure to check if their vehicle is among the cars being recalled by Toyota so you can follow the manufacturer instructions and avoid injury from the dangerous vehicle defect.
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