Defective Power Windows May Injure Car Passengers
Almost all new vehicles introduced to the American car market arrive with the power window feature. Although power window systems are a convenience motorists have become accustomed to, they have also been the cause of many injuries and even deaths in recent years.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 2,000 people each year suffer from power window-related injuries. Most of the injured victims of defective power windows are children, which also account for the numerous fatalities since power windows became the norm in passenger vehicles. A huge majority of accidents caused by power windows can be prevented if automobile manufacturers offer the proper safety mechanisms.
Following serious car-related injuries, victims should contact an experienced lawyer to investigate. Joe Lyon is a highly-rated and experienced Cincinnati, Ohio personal injury attorney, well-versed in the science and economic impact such an injury or death has on the victim’s life and family.
Causes of Defective Power Window Accidents
Passenger vehicles with power window systems come equipped with a few different kinds of operating systems, each of which is quite easy for children to operate:
- Rocker Switch—passengers press one end of the switch to open or shut the window.
- Toggle Switch—passenger press the switch forward or backward to operate the window.
- Lever Switch—passengers lift windows by pulling up on the switch. Auto safety advocates have urged car companies to use the lever switch system, which make it more difficult for children to operate windows. However, the majority of American made cars continue to use the other two switch systems.
There are safety mechanisms that force windows to open automatically when obstructed. These safety functions can prevent most injuries and deaths related to power windows. Most American cars, however, are not equipped with these mechanisms, even though they are common in Japanese and European vehicles.
Automaker Recalls Involving Defective Power Windows
In 2017, Ford Motor recalled about 23,000 Ford Escape SUVs in North America to update the power-window software. The company said the power-window system configuration may have exceeded the regulatory requirement for remote-actuation closing force, increasing the risk of injury.
In 2012, over 7 million Toyota vehicles were recalled worldwide for faulty power window switches. The driver’s door-mounted switches had a “sticky” feel to them during operation. A sticking window switch could pose particular dangers to children. Toyota said the sticky window switches were found in the following models of cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks:
- 2007 to 2008 Yaris
- 2007 to 2009 RAV4
- 2007 to 2009 Tundra
- 2007 to 2009 Camry
- 2007 to 2009 Camry Hybrid
- 2008 to 2009 Scion
- 2008 to 2009 Sequoia
- 2008 Highlander
- 2009 Corolla
- 2009 Matrix
Common Injuries from Defective Power Windows
About 70 percent of power window injuries involve the hands, including bruising, dislocation and fractures of fingers, wrists, or hands. Lacerations, and crushed hands are also common. In more serious accidents, most often involving young children, heads or bodies are trapped in power windows and result in suffocation. In these situations, it may be prudent to contact a product liability lawyer.
Reports have shown that power windows can exert up to 80 pounds of pressure. According to Kids and Cars, a nonprofit that tracks auto-safety issues involving children, power windows have killed at least 36 children since 1990. Advocates for car safety say it is far too easy to inadvertently operate a car window.
An experienced attorney can assist with a claim against the manufacturer of the defective power window. It may be possible to recover financial compensation for medical bills, lost earnings and other expenses or losses that an incident has caused.
If a loved one has suffered an injury due to a defective power window, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.