Auto recalls in the United States in 2017 totaled more 28 million vehicles. The use of common interchangeable components and suppliers across model and brand lines inflate these numbers each year.
When defective seatbelts, airbags, fuel lines, transmissions, windows, tires or any other car parts are installed on millions of vehicles, the risk of roadway injuries and deaths increases dramatically.
When automakers fail to control their quality and provide basic safety features, federal oversight by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and product liability attorneys can help mitigate the losses and damages. The majority of injuries and deaths on the road are preventable, yet faulty auto design and manufacturing defects are still not always addressed in a timely fashion.
Many accident victims are left with huge medical expenses, lost wages, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and, in many cases, permanent injuries.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio Auto Defect Lawyer and experienced Ohio product liability attorney, well-versed in the economic impact injuries and death have on a victim’s life and family.
Common Issues Affecting Auto Recalls
For financial reasons, automakers may be reluctant to recall their products, even when they know safety risks exist. A safety recall is an admission of a product flaw, and a company’s reputation for quality and safety are on the line. If any defect is not promptly addressed, however, the safety of any number of drivers and passengers could be jeopardized.
If a car or truck fails to meet safety specifications dictated by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards—anything from windshield defrosting systems to air bags—it can lead to recalls, either initiated by a specific manufacturer, or by recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Every manufacturer in the auto industry has issued recalls for dangerous products at some point in their history. Some auto defects clearly create more road hazards than others, though any defective car or truck may increase the risk of accident and injury. Companies who have been targeted in injury and product liability lawsuits include the following:
A large portion of auto-related injuries in Ohio are considered preventable. Accidents and subsequent injuries may be the result of negligent manufacturing or design of an automobile. Carmakers and component suppliers may be held liable if a defect leads to an injury. Some common injuries include the following:
BMW recalled 1.6 million cars worldwide due to possible fluid leaks that may result in a fire. The defect includes some BMW diesel vehicles, noting that coolant can leak from the exhaust gas recirculation module, part of the emissions reduction system. The coolant leaks at high temperatures may lead to a car fire.
The further recall is in addition to 480,000 BMW vehicles in Asia and Europe after fires were reported in South Korea. The recall covers vehicles made between 2010 and 2017. Over 54,000 vehicles could be affected in the U.S and Canada, posing a fire risk.
When a negligent automaker like BMW is responsible for an accident or fire that leads to injury, the carmaker may be liable for all damages, and plaintiffs may seek compensation for property damages, medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Defective design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the product is unreasonably dangerous.
A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer. Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many consumer products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product.
Automotive recalls and product liability cases are usually a result of a defective design. Common cases include Brake Recalls, defective seat belt buckles, automotive software defects, airbag defects, and several other safety issues.
Car manufacturers like BMW need to be held accountable so American consumers are protected on the roadways. If a safety issue exists and an injury is sustained, contact an Ohio auto recall lawyer to review the case.
When automakers like BMW fail to control quality, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and product liability attorneys can issue recalls and file lawsuits to hold companies responsible. The majority of road injuries are preventable, particularly with auto defects. Contact an Ohio auto recall lawyer to discuss the legal options available.
If a negligent automaker or component manufacturer is responsible for an accident that leads to injury, the negligent party may be liable for all damages and economic loss that results. The injured party may be entitled to compensation for property damages, medical costs (past and future), lost wages, loss of future earning potential, and pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, man auto recalls are issued too late—long after a particular defect leads to accidents and serious injuries. Manufacturers need to be held accountable for their actions, and encouraged to have the foresight and proper controls in place so American consumers are protected on the roadways.
Far too often, automakers will deny that a problem exists or ignore obvious safety concerns until they face enough pressure from victims and product liability legal teams.
Many product liability cases have had a positive impact on public health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.
Product liability lawsuits often contain causes of action for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Strict liability applies to different factors than negligence-based claims.
In negligence cases, the actions of the defendant are the focus. In strict liability claims, the focus is on the condition of a product at the time it left the manufacturer. If a product is determined to be defective, the company is liable for any foreseeable injuries that are in-part caused by the defective condition of the product.
A product is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A legal cause of action can be based on several types of product defects. The following are Cincinnati product liability and strict liability claims available in Ohio and in most jurisdictions nationwide:
(1) Manufacturing/ Construction Defect:
These issues arise where the product is released from the factory in a manner that deviates from the intended design or specifications. The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, including the wrong or completely foreign materials (e.g., Tylenol contamination, food poisoning, damaged car part from factory installation).
As a result of the deviation, the product enters the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition and the consumer is exposed to or purchases a product that is defective. Any personal injuries or economic loss that arise from the the defect are compensable under Ohio product liability law.
(2) Defective design and/or formulation:
Defective design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the product is unreasonably dangerous. A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer.
Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many consumer products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product. Automotive recalls and product liability cases are usually a result of a defective design. Common cases include the Toyota Brake Recall, Chrysler Gen III seat belt buckle, lap belt only cases, Metal on Metal hip implants, transvaginal mesh.)
(3) Failure to warn or inadequate warning or instruction associated with the product:
All consumer products come with necessary and appropriate warnings and instructions for use. If the lack of a warning makes the product and use of the product unsafe, the manufacturer is liable for the failure to place the warning. The most common area of litigation for failure to warn is in pharmaceutical litigation.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to warn of the known or foreseeable side effects and update the warnings in a timely manner. Litigation arises where there is evidence the manufacturer failed to timely update a warning in light of new data or simply ignored the risk and failed to conduct sufficient research to identify and then disclose the risk.
The product fails to conform to a representation or warranty. Warranty claims are more common in commercial and economic loss cases than in personal injury cases. In many States, The Product Liability Act does not apply to cases with only economic loss, because the Commercial Code provides recourse for breach of warranty.
The warranty may be written or implied based upon the products intended purpose and merchantability. An example of a breach of warranty cases are cases involving automotive defects.
Risks: The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the risks associated with the design of a product: (1) the magnitude of the risk of injury; (2) ordinary consumer awareness of the risk for injury; (3) the likelihood of causing injury; (4) the violation of a private or public standard; and (5) the consumer’s expectation of the performance of the product and level of danger. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (B) Product Defective in Design or Formulation.
Benefits: The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the benefits associated with product design: (1) the utility of the product; (2) availability of an alternative design; (3) the magnitude of risks associated with an alternative design. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (c)
Defenses for Defective Design: (1) a pharmaceutical drug or medical device is not defective by design if it contains an adequate warning of an unavoidably unsafe aspect of the pharmaceutical or medical device; (2) the dangerous aspect is inherent to the product, recognizable, and cannot be eliminated without compromising the product’s usefulness; (3) a lack of a feasible alternative design. 2307.75 (d)(e)(f).
A manufacturing defect is based on a defect that occurred during the manufacturing process. Many auto companies have been involved in this kind of product liability lawsuits in recent years, due to defective airbags, software defects, tire failure, and other dangerous manufacturing errors.
Most manufacturing defect cases are based on a products deviation from the intended specification, formula, performance standards, or design model. In such cases, it may be easy to determine the product did not comply with the intended design.
The product may be recalled as a specific lot is identified as being non-compliant and defective. A product may be defective in manufacture or construction, materials and assembly, and a manufacturer or distributor may be subject to strict liability, even though it exercised all possible care. Ohio Revised Code 2307.74.
Manufacturing Defect Examples:
In determining whether a product is defective due to inadequate warning or instruction, evidence must be presented to prove:
Defenses to Failure to Warn Claims: (1) the risk was open and obvious or a matter of common knowledge; and (2) in cases of a pharmaceutical drug or medical device, the warning was provided to the prescribing physician (“Learned Intermediary Doctrine”).
Many pharmaceutical companies have been targeted in failure to warn lawsuits for either failing to place warnings on medication guides and packaging or failing to properly test their product before putting it to market.
Design and manufacturing defects result in thousands of product recalls each year in the United States, initiated by federal safety agencies. Following injury and illness, regardless of recall status, victims and plaintiffs may pursue legal action and contact a product liability lawyer to begin the litigation process. Rightful compensation can be sought and help plaintiffs recover medical costs and other related damages.
Product liability law overlaps with regulatory law, which are the systems of legislative rules and administrative agencies, and part of federal and state governments. These agencies regulate the safety of the products sold to the public. Examples include:
The listed government agencies, however, may initiate recalls of dangerous products but do not provide remedies or compensation for damages where an individual is injured due to the defective product.
Our Firm will help you find the answers. The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered.
Experience: Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Product Liability Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters. Product Liability lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury. Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.
Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.
Results: Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury, automotive product liability, medical negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence cases. The cases have involved successfully litigating against some of the largest companies in the world
Defective products on the market present safety and health hazards for adults and children. Cheap and defective products may pose fire and burn risks; electrocution, strangulation and choking risks; and severe health risks. The manufacturers of consumer products have a duty to foresee potential injury and properly design and test products before they are released.
Companies must also properly warn consumers of any risks associated with their products. Any failure to protect consumers that results in accidents and injury can lead to lawsuits filed by plaintiffs and their Cincinnati product liability lawyer
The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to a defective product or recalled product to obtain just compensation under the law.
(Pikeville, Kentucky): Confidential settlement for Plaintiff who suffered spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia due to defectively designed seat belt. Four passengers with three-point (lap/shoulder) belts walked away from the accident, and the only passenger wearing a two-point belt (lap only) suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. The settlement assisted with home improvements to assist in daily living. GM entered federal bankruptcy during the process and no longer manufactures two-point lap belts for vehicles.
(Hillsboro, Ohio): Confidential Settlement for the family of elderly man who was catastrophically burned while operating a propane wall heater. The burns resulted in his unfortunate death. The heater, manufactured and sourced from China, was alleged to allow the flame to reach outside the grid area in violation of ANSI standards. The Defendant resolved the case following discovery and mediation. The recovered funds were paid to the victim’s surviving spouse and children. The company no longer manufactures this type of heater.