Since 1968, our firm has handled thousands of cases involving vehicle defects. Following are the types of defects that we have found often lead to big wins in court, or substantial settlements:
Beginning in 2009, Toyota began receiving complaints that some of its cars were accelerating on their own, causing auto accidents that resulted in injury and death. In 2012, Toyota settled hundreds of these lawsuits for more than $1 billion, the largest settlement of its kind.
Our firm assists many solo practitioners and small firms with matters of this nature, such as:
- $4 million settlement following SUV rollover resulting severe neck injury
- Deadly rollover case involving a 15-passenger van
These very complicated cases rely heavily on the testimony of experts to determine whether the accident was caused by driver error or defective design (e.g., vehicle center of gravity too high).
The reason so many motorcyclists are seriously injured in accidents is because they have no frame to brace them on impact. For case studies, see:
- Death from positional asphyxiation as a result of roof collapse
- Woman paralyzed in accident following roll down embankment
Most of us prefer to drive cars, which are supposed to provide this protection. A defective roof may result in devastating injuries, particularly in the case of a rollover accident. Individual settlements of these cases may be in the millions, particularly if a spinal cord injury is sustained.
Defective Seat Belts
There are two collisions in an auto accident –vehicle impact first, and then impact of the driver and passengers with the vehicle (or outside the vehicle in case of ejection). The purpose of a seatbelt is to minimize the damage of the second impact. Cases involving latch failure, torn webbing, spooling belt and anchoring systems failures may settle in the millions, particularly where the victim has suffered a spinal cord injury or death.
Defective Child Restraint Systems
A car seat with structural defects or that otherwise fails to comply with The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 can be deadly. Even a seemingly minor defect such as a release latch that gets stuck has warranted a massive recall by Graco to prevent potential injury and death of infants who may not be easily unharnessed in an emergency.
Defective airbags may fail to deploy, deploy too soon, or deploy when they shouldn’t, causing injury. The driver may lose control of the vehicle and/or may be injured by the airbag itself. Many individuals have suffered fractures, contusions, concussions and eye damage, for example, as a result of defective airbags. In 2013, a Virginia family was awarded $14 million when a side airbag in their vehicle failed to deploy, leaving their teenage son brain damaged.
Tire blowouts cause an estimated 23,000 accidents and 535 deaths each year. While most of these blowouts are caused by old, punctured, or overinflated tires, many result from manufacturing and structural defects. For case studies, see:
- Tire blowout due to tread separation
- Tire blowout and rollover crash due to belt and tread separation
Expensive and highly complex cases require large firm representation
Defective product auto accident cases are very expensive and highly complex. For these reasons a successful claim often depends on representation by a large, well-staffed law firm that is prepared to go up against major automobile manufacturers and other large companies.
If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.