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In 2016, about 90% of Americans who were of driving age owned a vehicle and they drove about 3.22 trillion miles (yes, that’s trillion with a “t”). With so many cars on the road, it can be frightening when you consider that automotive recalls hit an all time high affecting 53.2 million vehicles. If you were injured by a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment that was recalled, you may be eligible to make a claim.
Takata airbags has been called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history” by The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). These faulty products were put into vehicles made by 19 different automakers from the years 2002-2015. The problem is that these airbags can forcefully deploy causing severe injuries or even death to the driver. They also can cause metal shards to fly throughout the cabin threatening passenger safety. This recall alone is said to affect 37 million vehicles.
Ford Motor Company’s top-of-the-line Super Duty F-Series trucks have recently been put in the spotlight. They were advertised as getting better gas mileage than their other F-Series models while also being marketed as “the cleanest super diesel ever.” However, some experts are citing that these specialty trucks are giving off emissions as much as 50 times the legal limit for nitrogen oxide pollutants and suspect that the on-board diagnostic software is deliberating showing false results.
Honda Odyssey minivans are some of the most popular family vehicles on the market. However, vans that were made between 2002-2017 have second row outboard seats that may not securely latch. If the vehicle brakes quickly, these seats may tip forward causing passenger injuries.
Hyundai is recalling over a million of their cars due to vehicle malfunctions. 2011-2014 Sonatas and 2011-2015 Sonata Hybrids have front seat belts that could detach from the seat belt anchor during a collision. 2013-2014 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport models have been reported to have a seized engine on the road due to limited oil delivery to the connecting rod bearings.
(These are just a sampling of the many recent vehicle recalls that are in the news. You can visit the NHTSA’s website for a list of current vehicle recalls.)
Recalls are usually necessary in two situations: either the motor vehicle or its equipment (including tires) does not comply with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard or if there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment. The United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety (Title 49, Chapter 301) defines motor vehicle safety as “the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.”
In the Takata case, several emails were discovered from the years 1999 – 2000 sharing that the propellant used to inflate the airbags was problematic and could cause injuries to drivers. Additionally, testing of Takata’s inflaters in 1999 and 2000 at the Honda facility resulted in at least two inflaters rupturing. This happened a full eight years before the first Takata airbag recall which occured in 2008, and yet these airbags were still used in millions of cars.
Since so many cars on the road have Takata airbags, many drivers have been frustrated concerning airbag shortages and not being able to have this potentially dangerous part replaced. Although Takata has increased its output of replacement kits, it may take years to address the millions of cars that this recall impacts. Takata has also reported that they are incorporating competitors’ products in half of the inflator-replacement kits and expects that number to reach more than 70 percent to meet the needs of so many consumers.
Additionally, age and temperature are critical factors to consider if your car has a recalled airbag. The older the product is or if you live in a humid environment such as Florida, Georgia, or Hawaii, the more likely it is to malfunction.
Some consumers have joined class-action lawsuits to try to receive financial compensation. For example, a group of BMW, Mazda, Subaru, and Toyota owners reached a preliminary settlement in June 2017. They were awarded cash payments and loaner cars until their vehicles had the faulty parts replaced.
While each recall and circumstance is unique, there are many times when a car manufacturer knows that they are distributing or using a faulty device and still fails to warn drivers. If you or a loved one was injured due to a dangerous motor vehicle or its equipment, you may be able to make a claim against the motor company. Contact us today so that we can help you to determine if you are eligible to file a claim.
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