Auto Recalls – What You Need to Know

Personal Injury
You simply can’t escape it. Auto recalls.  Almost everywhere you turn, it seems as if you’re hearing about another automobile defect recall.   You’re tempted to shrug your shoulders and forget all about it until the unthinkable happens. Someone dies in a motor vehicle accident. In fact, about 33,500 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Automobile mishaps also injure far more people than they kill, about 2.3 million of them in 2012. So what precipitated these fatal accidents and injuries? Of course, driving while intoxicated or distracted driving and speeding cause a large percentage of them.But that begs the question. How often do vehicle defects result in trauma or death? We don’t know, but we do recognize that according to the NHTSA, 1.2% of the auto accidents result from “vehicle problems.”   If we also assume that defective cars cause 1.2% of the accidental fatalities and injuries, then in 2012, around 400 people died and 38,500 suffered injury because their vehicles failed in some way.Of course, that’s way too many.

What causes these vehicle failures?

 

Model Year Manufacturer Model(s) Reason Recalled
2013 Ford Escape / Fusion Engine Fires

89,000

01 – 11 Toyota Multiple Models Faulty Steering

2,770,000

02 – 04 Chrysler Jeep Liberty / Grand Cherokee Air Bag Issues

919,000

12 – 13 Nissan Altima Steering Defect

14,000

07 – 09 Toyota Multiple Models Door Fires

7,500,000

05 – 09 Toyota Venza /Camry / Tacoma Airbag Issues

681,500

02 – 05 Honda Civic / Pilot Headlight Failure

820,000

03 – 07 Honda Accord / Acura TL Faulty Power Steering

600,000

06 – 10 Toyota RAV4 / Lexus HS 250h Rear Suspension Issues

778,000

01 – 04 Ford Escape Sticky Cruise Control

500,000

04 – 05 Ford Freestar / Mercury Monterey Sudden Loss of

205,896

 

This table from Statisticbrain.com shows that complex vehicles can break down in many ways, These include, faulty steering, air bags, fires, steering problems and cruise control issues, among others.

Ignition Switch Recalls

Of course you’ve heard about the recent air bag and ignition switch recalls, so let’s discuss them in some detail, starting with the ignition switches.

CBSnews.com reported that General Motors has suffered numerous recalls this year, the biggest one occurring in June 2014. At that time, they declared that 3.4 million of its cars had defective ignition switches.

The problem: A switch can turn from the run to the off position if the key chain weighs too much and the vehicle jerks. That means the car shuts off while on the road and the power steering also shuts down, so drivers loose control of their vehicles. Worse yet, if an accident results, the airbags won’t deploy.

Air Bag Recalls

Defective airbag recall

 

According to the latinpost.com, a number of people died because some of Takata Corporation’s airbags for Honda vehicles malfunctioned. In fact, the Latino Post reported on November 13, 2014 that the Senate Commerce Committee would be holding hearings on the problem and that a New York Grand Jury might investigate whether or not to charge the companies for crimes relating to them.

 

Let’s now put a personal spin on this story.  CBSNews.com reported that at the Commerce Committee hearing, Air Force lieutenant Stephanie Erdman explained how she suffered an eye injury when a defective airbag opened during an accident.

Lieutenant Erdman testified that when the driver’s side airbag opened, the bag’s metal housing sprayed shrapnel into the car damaging her eye and right sinus.

Tanaka representative Hiroshi Shimizu, while testifying before the committee, said that his company was “deeply sorry” for the injuries and deaths that the airbags his company manufactured allegedly caused.

That deeply felt sentiment didn’t sooth Lieutenant Erdman, who said that she wanted to be a “voice for the people who have been forever silenced by these Takata airbags. I hope that no other families will have to go through this terrible ordeal…My vision will never be the same. I will never be the same.”

How to Know if  a Manufacturer Has Recalled Your Vehicle

At this point, you probably want to ensure that you never suffer Lieutenant Erdman’s fate. Of course, it’s impossible to make any such guarantees, but at least you can determine if your car has any problems that caused the manufacturer to recall it. Fortunately, it’s easy to check. Just get your VIN number and go to this government’s recall site.

What to Do If You’ve Already Been Injured

Prevention is best, of course, but, unfortunately, a product malfunction may have already harmed you. If that’s the case, do not talk to the auto manufacturer or its insurance company. Instead, hire a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases.

Like doctors, lawyers specialize. You wouldn’t hire a cardiologist if you needed brain surgery. By the same logic, don’t select the lawyer who wrote your will or handled your divorce to battle the multi-billion dollar auto manufacturer who built your car.  McCready Law has been representing accident victims since 1992 and have a long track record of success.  We are always available for a free consultation on personal injury, workers’ compensation and disability cases.