Many claims of product liability involve negligence, breach of warranty, strict liability, and other consumer-related claims against a manufacturer, distribution company or industrial corporation. In the area of products liability law, there are three main categories of liability claims. These are manufacturing defects, faulty product design, and failure to warn consumers and the general public about the shortcomings discovered in a certain product (also referred to as “marketing” defects).
As auto accident lawyers, my firm understands the impact that a defective vehicle safety component can have on a person or an entire family. Faulty safety devices and components designed to save lives can ironically result in the serious injury or death of an innocent person. Whether the victim is a child, older sibling, parent or grandparent, the incident is never easy for a family to deal with, especially in the case of wrongful death.
As Maryland personal injury attorneys who deal on a daily basis with the carnage wrought by negligent drivers of automobiles, light trucks and commercial delivery vehicles, our primary goal is to help our clients and assist those victims who have been hurt, maimed or killed due to another individual’s negligence. Occasionally, car, truck or motorcycle wrecks can be caused by a defective part or component, usually a safety-related device, that fails unexpectedly resulting in a highway collision or serious crash.
In products liability law, we handle those parts, components, whole systems or pieces of merchandise that have directly or indirectly resulted in the injury or death of a person or group of people. Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about automotive safety recalls in the news and on TV. Whether the source of the defect is the auto manufacturer, supplier or raw material source, the responsible parties should be found and held accountable for their negligent actions. As Baltimore trial lawyers, my legal team is available to help those who have been hurt by unsafe or defective products; auto safety recalls are an indication of potential injury within our community.
According to news reports, Honda has once again recalled more than 870,000 of the company’s older sport utility vehicles and minivans as a result of a problem detected with the mechanical system that is supposed to retain the key in the ignition switch while the minivan or SUV is shifted into gear. However, based on news reports, the ignition switches in the affected models can wear out, which can allow the driver in some cases to remove the key without shifting the vehicle into park. This has resulted in some injuries when the driver thought the car was in park, because he or she was able to remove the key, yet the vehicle then began to roll unexpectedly while still in gear.
Safety regulators opened an investigation back in October following more than 40 complaints about the problem were filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington, D.C. Of those earliest reports, Honda owners reported 16 crashes due that resulted from the problem.
In those instances, two individuals were reportedly hurt, according to the NHTSA. One of the more serious collisions resulted in the driver sustaining a broken leg after being run over by a 2003 Odyssey minivan. In that case, the driver parked the van on a sloped portion of a residential driveway, but as the person was walking away from the car, the vehicle began to roll backward. The driver reportedly stumbled while attempting to stop the van. The event resulted in that person receiving an open fracture of their fibula (aka, lower leg bone) and crush injuries to their shin, according to NHTSA information.
According to the news article, the Honda models affected include 277,000 Pilot SUVs and 347,000 Honda Odysseys (‘03 and ‘04 model years); as well as 247,000 Acura MDXs (‘03-’06 models). All of the affected vehicles are equipped with automatic transmissions. Maryland drivers should certainly be aware of this issue, since more than 800,000 of these cars were sold in the U.S., many likely on the East Coast.
It appears that Honda will be replacing the defective ignition switches for free in order to make the vehicles safe again. Owners will reportedly see a notice in the mail sometime in the February 2013 timeframe.
It’s important to note here as well that the NHTSA is also investigating brake problems with the 2005 Honda Pilot, involving almost 90,000 vehicles. With that particular problem, the brakes can be activated without the driver ever pressing on the brake pedal. A fix has yet to be announced, however, it appears that problems with the ABS may be the culprit in this particular case. Federal investigators have not yet determined if the Pilot’s braking issue is serious enough to warrant a recall.
Honda recalls more than 870,000 minivans and SUVs, MSN.com, December 12, 2012