Articles Posted in Defective Vehicles

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Product liability in vehicle crashes can be difficult to establish, but is nonetheless an important legal theory to explore following a collision. Vehicle makers – just like the producers of any consumer product – have a responsibility to make sure it is reasonably safe. In general, vehicles can be defective if they are unreasonably dangerous by design or defectively manufactured. Some claims also stem from insufficient consumer warnings/ failure to warn. 

Some of the common vehicle defects we’ve seen in Orlando car accident cases include faulty:

  • Engines
  • Brakes
  • Tires/ wheels
  • Fuel systems
  • Ignition
  • Airbags
  • Body/ frame

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates about 2 percent of vehicle crashes can be attributed in whole or in part to a vehicle defect. Even if a vehicle defect isn’t the cause of a crash, it can be the reason injuries are far worse. For example, a poorly-placed fuel tank may not cause two vehicles to collide, but it may leave one of those vehicles more prone to a deadly fire when that fuel tank is struck, resulting in far more severe injuries – or wrongful death – that may otherwise have been avoided.  Continue reading →

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The sunroof is a popular vehicle feature, especially in Florida, where it can be enjoyed virtually year-round. However, a recent court case and New York Times report have highlighted safety concerns about the sunroof, particularly in rollover crashes and even when the window is closed. 

For anyone who may not be familiar, a sunroof is a panel on the roof of a car that can be opened for additional ventilation and light. The panel is non-removable, though some can be opened completely to allow for an open window in the roof. A moonroof is a type of sunroof that will tilt open slightly to allow in fresh air, but won’t open completely like a sunroof. It’s estimated 7 million (or 40 percent of all 2017 model cars and light trucks) are sold with a sunroof, compared to 33 percent for the 2011 model year.

The issue, as the Times reported, is that while these features have gained immense popularity, the government regulations regarding them have remained unchanged – which is to say, there are no regulations. It’s estimated there are hundreds of sunroof ejections that happen each year, many of those resulting in serious injury or death. Some automakers are even introducing “panoramic” sunroofs, which stretch the entire span of the vehicle’s top. This is touted as a luxury feature, but the reality is it can be extremely dangerous, particularly when made with glass that isn’t laminated. Some car makers have on their own made laminated safety glass standard for newer models. Others are working on devices that will help reduce the odds of ejection in the event of a rollover. However, those features aren’t required and motorists and passengers continue to be at heightened risk in the event of a rollover because numerous studies have shown vehicle occupants are safest in a rollover if they can stay in their vehicle. Continue reading →

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Older models of Jeep Cherokee vehicles have been implicated in 270 traffic deaths so far and thousands of lawsuits. Now, in the latest of those, which involves two decedents and 17 defendants, alleges FCA – the company that used to be known as Chrysler – knew about a fatal defect in the vehicle design and dragged its feet on issuing a recall. 

Ultimately, manufacturers recalled more than 1.6 million Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles made between 1993 and 2004. But that was almost three years after consumer advocate Ralph Nader first called for the manufacturer to issue a recall. Nader in 2011 called the vehicles, “a modern day Pinto for soccer moms” that was prone to burst into flames when struck from behind.

It wasn’t until 2014 that Jeep first announced it would offer a “fix” – a trailer hitch installed between the rear axle and bumper. Many questioned whether that alone was adequate. Continue reading →

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A defective auto parts lawsuit has been filed against a manufacturer by a California resident who alleges defendant failed to disclose a dangerous and material defect in the throttle control system of the vehicle.

In Shively v. BMW, plaintiff seeks class action status for his claim.

The lawsuit alleges breach of implied warranties and violations of the Unfair Competition Act, False Advertising Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act. It also alleges defendant engaged in fraudulent concealment and nondisclosure for not informing customers of defective and potentially dangerous conditions of the cars they sold. Continue reading →

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Consumers who suffer from an injury as a result of a manufacturing defect have the right to take legal action against the automobile maker or other companies responsible for the defect. In a recent South Florida case, a woman was in a minor accident when her air bag deployed. A piece of metal shot out of the airbag and struck the woman in the forehead, leaving her permanently scarred. She has brought a lawsuit against the airbag company responsible for the defective product installed in her 2001 Honda Civic.

The airbag company is currently to blame for a nationwide recall of several vehicle models that have installed the defective product. Unfortunately, for many consumers, they will not realize that they are in danger until it is too late. In this case, the woman did not realize her airbag was defective until she was involved in a collision which resulted in serious injuries caused by the defective airbag. Victims of accidents will often suffer from physical, as well as emotional trauma. In this case, the victim says she is still in shock, sad, and afraid to get behind the wheel.

The victim’s Honda Civic was one of eight million cars that are part of the recall over air bags produced by Takata Corporation. According to victims, police reports, and a growing amount of evidence against the company, the inflators in the air bag have been known to rupture and eject shrapnel in the event of a crash. The list of vehicles that have been recalled include cars from Honda, General Motors, approximately 25 million vehicles in the U.S., as well as recalls in other countries, including China, Japan, and throughout Europe.

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Auto defects can create serious hazards for drivers, passengers, and other motorists on the road. When a significant number of accident reports indicate the faulty manufacturing of a vehicle is the cause of injury, the government may intervene to prevent future accidents or injury. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the authority to demand a recall when a common design flaw continues to cause accidents and injury.

As a consumer, you have the right to expect that the automobile you purchase is safe for use. You also have the right to pursue legal action against a negligent manufacturer, distributor, or other entity responsible for injuries or wrongful death. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are experienced in handling complex claims, including those against negligent manufacturers.

This month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made a request to recall 2.7 million SUVs after evidence suggests that the pose a serious fire hazard. According to the Center for Auto Safety, a public interest group, there have been 201 fire crashes and 285 deaths involving the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Additionally, there were 36 accidents and 53 deaths involving Libertys.

According to the NHTSA, the tank design used in Jeep Grand Cherokees and the Jeep Liberty are unsafe. Usually when the agency requests a recall, an automobile manufacturer will comply; however, in this case, Chrysler has challenged the request and denied the recall.

The gas tank design is placed behind the rear axle of the SUV, which, according to Chrysler is a common design in other vehicles. The automaker also alleges that the fatalities involving fiery gas tanks occurred during high-speed accidents where a different design would not have prevented an explosion. Chrysler also contends that the NHTSA’s conclusions are based on an “incomplete analysis.” Chrysler has made additional public statements that the cited accident figures are overstated.

Though Chrysler has the right to dispute the allegations and challenge the recall, the NHTSA wants consumers to have knowledge of the defect and to take appropriate action. The NHTSA has also urged Chrysler to acknowledge the potential dangers of the vehicles and to protect customers.

In 1996, Chrysler also challenged the request to recall cars because of faulty seat belts. In that case, Chrysler won in a federal court case that challenged the agency decision. Though challenging the recall of the Jeep Cherokee and Liberty vehicles, Chrysler has agreed to work with the agency to resolve the dispute. The automaker has also purported that a new design on Cherokee and Liberty gas tanks does not create the same hazard of fire or explosion.

Additional defective vehicles on the market may also pose a fire risk to consumers. Ford Motor is recalling 465,000 of a current model Ford Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Fusion, Interceptor Utility, Interceptor Sedan and other models because of a fuel leak that poses a fire risk.

A fire or explosion during a motor vehicle accident can result in catastrophic injuries, including burns, loss of limb, or fatality. To prevent more deaths caused by negligent design, government agencies, consumer groups, as well as individual consumers must collaborate to raise awareness.
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Toyota Motor Corporation is dishing out close to $17.5 million (the highest allowable fine) because the company didn’t report safety defect on some of its cars in a timely manner, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Not only is this the highest allowable fine by the federal government, but it’s also the highest amount that the NHTSA has ever received in connection with violations regarding recalls.

“Safety is our highest priority,” said Ray LaHood, Secretary with the U.S. Transportation. “With today’s announcement, I expect Toyota to rigorously reinforce its commitment to adhering to United States safety regulations.”

Our Palm City accident lawyers understand that car makers have five business days after discovering a defect to report it to federal officials. This law is in place to help to conduct a product recall in a timely manner and to help to keep consumers safe! Each and every second that a defective vehicle is on our roadways creates higher risks for a potentially fatal accident.

Back at the beginning of the year, officials with the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation started to notice that there was a trend regarding the floor mat and the pedals in some of Toyota’s vehicles. It was causing pedal entrapment in some of its 2010 vehicles. Back in May, officials with the NHTSA got in touch with Toyota about this problem. Just a month later, Toyota was told by the NHTSA that it knew of close to 65 of these incidents. Technicians and dealers with Toyota said that the floor mat was causing unwanted acceleration in these vehicles.

Later in June, Toyota told the NHTSA that it would get publicly recall the more than 154,000 affected vehicles to fix the problem.

As a part of the most recent settlement for this problem, Toyota agrees to make changes to their quality review and assurance program.

A safety recall involving a motor vehicle or an item of motor vehicle equipment can be independently conducted by a manufacturer or ordered by the NHTSA. In either of these cases, the manufacturer must file a public report describing the safety-related defect or noncompliance with a federal motor vehicle safety standard, the involved vehicle/equipment population, the major events that resulted in the recall determination, a description of the remedy and a schedule for the recall.

It’s important for consumers to keep an eye on the latest vehicle recalls and safety defects. You can do this easily by visiting the NHTSA’s page. On this page, you can get information regarding the latest vehicle recalls and also information regarding child safety seat recalls, tires and more. The recall information on this page includes vehicle and equipment campaigns from 1966 to today. The campaigns include motor vehicle products which contained a safety-related defect or did not comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards. Staying safe on our roadways means staying up to date with this kind of information!
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Anyone considering purchasing a vehicle in the next few months should probably wait to review the results of crash tests that are being conducted on 2012 models. According to Automotive Discovery, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be putting 81 percent of the 2012 models being sold on the market through the ringer to see how they fare with crash testing and safety standards. The results will be posted online. Last October, the NHTSA started testing vehicles more stringently but the results were not positive despite manufacturers wanting to achieve a 5-star rating on each vehicle they put onto the assembly line for mass production.

Considering how much time most of us spend in our vehicle each day, purchasing a vehicle that meets federal standards and is rated with 5 stars should be a pretty high priority in reducing the risk of injury in a Coral Springs car accident.

Car accident lawyers in Coconut Creek, Vero Beach, Cooper City and Davie know that most vehicles are being built with safety features and are more structurally sound than in previous years, but too many deaths are still occurring on Florida roadways. Consumers are advised to do your research and know what you’re buying to help prevent tragic accidents from taking your life or that of a loved one. However, manufacturers have a responsibility to keep consumers safe, so if you are injured in an accident caused by a defective vehicle seek the advice of a legal professional immediately.

The NHTSA has recently released the list of 2012 models to be crash-tested. The 74-item list contains two minivans, eight pickup trucks, 22 SUVs and crossovers, and 42 passenger cars. Some of the vehicles being tested include: Acura TL, BMW 328i, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Tacoma, Dodge Durango, Ford Expedition and Honda Pilot. For a full list of the 2012 models being crash-tested for safety, click here.

New for this year, the NHTSA’s restored testing program will provide consumers with recommendations on which vehicles have the most effective “crash avoidance” technologies. Manufacturers are equipping newer model vehicles with lane departure warnings (LDW) and forward collision warnings (FCW) to help reduce the risk of veering off the roadway or rear-ending a vehicle or object in front of you. Last year only 45 models offered these protective devices as an option. There are 68 vehicle models for 2012 that have LDW (12), FCW (18) or both (38) features already installed in the vehicle.

In a statement, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reiterated that by raising the bar from crash testing last year, manufacturers are being held accountable for building safer cars. Consumers purchasing a vehicle should remember the more stars found next to the name, the safer it has been found to withstand a crash.

The results of the crash testing and recommendations for the vehicles with the best crash avoidance technologies will be posted on

Remember, if you are purchasing a new vehicle visit this website before you buy. You can also check back for defective vehicle recalls to make sure the car you are driving is safe.
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The Government Accountability Office’s auto safety report released earlier this month called for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to adjust its recall processes, noting significant “room for improvement” in how the U.S. handles auto recalls.

Our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys know that defective vehicles can lead to car accidents in Palm Beach and elsewhere. Consumers need to know where to find recall information so they know what to do if they have a recalled vehicle.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a non-partisan investigative division of Congress. It is often referred to as a “congressional watchdog” organization. It advises Congress and the leaders of executive agencies on ways to make government more ethical, efficient, equitable, effective and responsive.

Its work is done at the request of congressional committees/subcommittees or is ordered by public laws or committee reports. It embarks on research under the power of the Comptroller General.

The agency also supports congressional oversight by:

-Auditing agency operations to decide if federal funds are being spent effectively and efficiently.

-Investigating accusations of improper and illegal activities.

-Reporting on how effective government policies and programs are meeting their goals.

-Analyzing policy and recommending options for congressional consideration.

-Giving legal opinions and decisions, such as reports on agency rules and bid protest rulings.

Recently after the recalls of Toyota vehicles, the report asserts that Congress had unanswered questions regarding the auto safety defect recall process. The agency wondered if the NHTSA had enough oversight authorities and whether consumers were being effectively motivated to obey the recalls. Responding to Congress’ concerns, the GAO reviewed documents and laws and conducted interviews with NHTSA and stakeholders about the procedures of the recall process. The report indicated that 2010 was a record-breaking year for automobile recalls. Knowing this information, the GAO is concerned about what happens after those recalls are announced, noting that many vehicles never get fixed, which creates a hazard on our roadways. The report contends that the NHTSA doesn’t have the authority to inform potential used-car buyers of a defect, which poses a concern for buyers not aware of the recall.

The GAO report explained, “although recall completion rates vary considerably by certain factors, NHTSA has not consistently used the data it collects to identify which factors make some recalls more successful than others.” The GAO thinks the NHTSA recall notices don’t currently include sufficient information, and suggests the agency might rely too much on its website.

In conclusion, the GAO wants the NHTSA to:

-Make modifications to their requirements for notification letters.

-Make better use of its own data and automakers records.

-Ask for Congressional action to get the authority needed to notify used-car buyers of recalls.

Carfax, a provider of vehicle history reports, applauded GAO’s efforts to improve the recall process. They offer vehicle owners a free recall check at, Just enter your vehicle’s 17-digit VIN number to determine if there are any open recalls on your vehicle.

“Carfax is committed to ensuring consumers have all the vehicle information available to them that they need. We felt access to this open recall information was crucial, and we decided to make this information available free of charge when we started receiving it simply as a public service,” noted Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax.
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Since mid-October, our Margate car accident attorneys and Fort Lauderdale defective product lawyers have been monitoring the number of motor vehicle recalls issued by car makers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As of October 21, six manufacturers have recalled more than 18 million motor vehicles to address issues ranging from faulty fuel pumps to a leak in a power-steering system that could lead to an engine fire.

Ford Motor Co. has issued the bulk of the recalls, ordering about 17. 5 million vehicles be repaired under the Mazda, Mercury, Ford and Lincoln brands. Just this week, Nissan, GM and Chrysler have recalled more than 600,000 vehicles. Neither the Nissan or the Chrysler defects appear to pose driving hazards, but the GM recall stems from a power steering issue that has caused a car fire in four vehicles.

A BMW recall involves 130,000 twin-turbo six-cylinder engine vehicles due to a faulty fuel pump that reduces power on failure. Suzuki and Mitsubishi have recalled 70,000 and 19,000 cars respectively. The Suzuki recall involves an outside rear-view mirror and the Mitsubishi recall is to address an air conditioning malfunction.

Recalls can be ordered by the NHTSA or issued independently by a manufacturer, but, regardless of how inspired, a recall requires a public report that identifies the problem, the make and model of vehicle involved, what defect caused the recall to be issued and how the company plans to correct the problem. The manufacturer is required to notify product owners and distributors when a recall is ordered, and remedies – repairs, replacements or repurchase – must be offered at no charge. Remedies must also effectively correct the safety issue.

If you receive a notification letter that your vehicle has been recalled, the NHTSA suggests you take the following steps to see that repairs are made appropriately and in a timely fashion:

~ Upon notification – generally via letter – that your vehicle is subject to recall, contact your car dealer’s service department to schedule a recall repair. Please note that the service department should NOT charge you for a recall repair.

~ If your dealer’s service department is not handling your recall repair to your satisfaction, or if they try to charge you for a recall repair, contact the service department manager and provide him or her with a copy of your recall notification letter.

~ If talking with the service department manager at your dealership is ineffective, contact the manufacturer. Provide all identifying information about your vehicle, your car dealer and your recall notification.

~ If going to the manufacturer also proves ineffective, contact the NHTSA.
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