Posted On September 18, 2017 In Personal Injury
Automakers are required by law to issue recalls for defective auto parts. However, there are instances where dangerous vehicle features are not considered defective by regulators or automakers. In these cases, recalls may not be issued by automakers and consumers may be unaware these dangers exist.
The hidden vehicle dangers that will be discussed in this blog have been known to regulators and auto manufacturers for years. Although there have been injuries and deaths, many vehicles may still contain these features.
According to KidsAndCars.org, thousands of children have been killed or injured by power car windows. Injuries and deaths occur when children stick their heads out of windows and then unintentionally roll them back up. In these cases, the keys were left in the ignition or the engine was running. Parents may leave the car on with the air conditioning running while mistakenly believing their children are safe.
Power windows can exert between 30 to 80 pounds of force. It takes only 22 pounds of force to suffocate or injure a small child. Statistics collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that more than 50 children have been killed by power windows since 1990. Additional children have suffered traumatic brain injuries and amputation of fingers. Most of these victims were three years old or younger.
The most recent victim of a power window accident was a two-year-old in Lafayette, Indiana. According to the parents, they placed the two-year-old boy and his sister in a vehicle with the air conditioning running while they worked nearby cleaning out another car. At some point, the boy woke up from a nap, rolled down the window and stuck his head out. He then triggered the power window and rolled it back up on himself. By the time emergency responders arrived on the scene, he had gone without oxygen for more than 40 minutes. Emergency personnel revived the boy but he died several days later at a hospital.
A CBS News investigation from last year found that seatback failures have injured or killed more than 100 people in the US since the late 1980s. Seatback failures can occur when a collision causes the seat to launch backwards, such as during a rear-end accident. If a passenger is sitting in the backseat, then they can be hit by an occupant in the front seat.
Several years ago, Audi was sued by the family of a Texas boy who suffered a traumatic brain injury from a seatback failure. In 2012, the boy was riding as a backseat passenger when his father was rear-ended by another driver. The seat launched backwards and changed their lives forever. According to the boy’s father, his son now lives with permanent brain damage, partial paralysis and vision problems.
In a deposition, Audi engineers claimed that the front seats of the father’s vehicle were designed to hit the knees of backseat passengers to absorb some of the force. However, children take the full force of the impact because they are much smaller. A Texas jury awarded the boy and his family a $124.5 million verdict.
It is important to speak with an attorney after an accident involving vehicle features or equipment. Personal injury attorneys have experience investigating cases that involve dangerous products. Depending on the circumstances, it could be possible to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or other parties. However, it would be difficult for the layman to determine whether this is an option.
The Texas personal injury attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC can help victims of dangerous consumer products determine their eligibility for filing lawsuits. We also have page that can help you learn the basics of product liability lawsuits.