Have you sustained a serious injury as a result of an automobile defect or faulty auto part? Car accidents are not always caused by driver errors.
Automobiles and trucks are constructed of thousands of parts. If your vehicle has a design defect or a manufacturing defect, it can interfere with the vehicle’s performance and cause a serious accident leading to injuries or deaths.
The personal injury lawyers at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. represent victims of accidents caused by defective automobiles and auto parts and their families.
Our experienced Corpus Christi car accident attorneys will review the facts of your accident and explain your legal options free of charge during an initial consultation. We will treat you with compassion and respect.
If your injuries are severe and make it too hard for you to visit our office, we can meet with you at your home or other location convenient to you. If your auto defect is the type of case that we take, we will offer to handle your case on a contingency fee basis.
You will not owe a legal fee or expenses unless we are successful in obtaining money for you. Contact our personal injury attorneys for a free consultation.
How We Will Help If You Have Been Harmed by an Auto Defect
Product liability claims are complex to pursue. An auto defect may not be pinpointed by police as the cause of an accident during the initial investigation.
The identification of auto defects requires committed injury attorneys with experience investigating defective product claims and the resources to follow the investigation wherever it leads. At Herrman & Herrman, our attorneys have experience handling these types of injury cases. We have the resources to take on auto manufacturers and parts suppliers and hold them accountable.
Under Texas law, an injury victim must show that the automobile or automotive component in question was defective, that the product was not modified after it left the manufacturer, that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous and that the defect caused your injury.
We do a thorough investigation of how the accident occurred. We may consult with automobile technical experts who can analyze why a component failed and provide evidence to support your claim. We will identify all the potentially responsible parties in the supply chain from parts maker to distributor to the auto manufacturer.
Our attorneys will develop an estimate of your total losses from the auto defect by calculating your medical bills, anticipated future medical costs, lost wages, and future losses if you are unable to go back to work. We will present a claim reflecting the total amount of your losses to the insurance company or companies representing the automaker.
We will negotiate vigorously for a settlement that reflects the full value of your claim. If we receive a settlement offer, we will discuss it with you. We will offer our opinion about whether the offer seems reasonable. It will be up to you to decide whether to accept it.
Our attorneys are effective in settling most cases without going to trial. If an insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement in a product liability case, our attorneys are committed to fighting for you. We will file a civil lawsuit, after discussing it with you, and seek justice through the court system.
Common Types of Auto Defects
Defects often exist in a group of vehicles of the same design from certain model years. Defects also may occur in numerous makes and models that contain the same component from a parts supplier.
The auto defects often identified in product liability lawsuits include:
- Defective airbags
- Faulty ignition switches that cause sudden loss of power
- Seat belt failure
- Defective tires that have tread separation or blow out
- Gas tank defects
- Steering components that break
- Accelerator controls that cause unintended acceleration
- Wiring system problems that cause loss of headlights or fire
- Seat backs that fail unexpectedly
If the auto manufacturer discovers a safety defect, the manufacturer must notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), auto dealers, and vehicle owners.
If the NHTSA receives similar reports from a number of people about an automotive problem, it may investigate whether a safety defect exists and a recall should be ordered. In many cases, the manufacturer will voluntarily initiate a recall. The manufacturer is required to correct the defect at no charge to the owner.
The problem is that many defects remain unknown until serious accidents have occurred and people have been seriously injured or killed. In some cases, the manufacturer fails to warn adequately of the danger of a safety defect that it is aware of or fails to issue a recall notice or warning.
Ford Announces Huge Recall for Faulty Door Latches
Ford is recalling 389,585 Ford Fiestas, Fusions and Lincoln MKZ sedans, the majority of which were sold in the U.S. The recall is associated with the potential danger of a faulty door latch that can allow the doors to open while the vehicle is in motion.
The vehicles recalled include:
- Some 2012 – 2014 Ford Fiestas built in Mexico
- Some 2013 – 2014 Ford Fusions built in Mexico
- Some 2013 – 2014 Lincoln MKZ built in Mexico
The faulty door latch poses real dangers to drivers and passengers, as well as pedestrians or bicyclists who may be walking or riding adjacent to a vehicle with a faulty door latch. The essential problem is that the door latch spring assembly can break, allowing the door to swing open while the vehicle is in motion, which has already occurred on several occasions.
USA Today reports that there have been 207 complaints about faulty door latches, including 65 reports of the door flying open while the vehicle is in motion. Ford acknowledges that has received 451 reports and 1,079 warranty claims to date.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting an investigation of the safety hazard. The agency reports two injuries, both caused by a rebounding door striking a consumer after they attempted to close the door after it had swung open.
All vehicle owners will be contacted so that the problem can be resolved by replacing the door latch at no cost to the owners.
If you own one of these vehicles and have been injured due to the failure of the door latch, connect with a lawyer for car recall at Herrman & Herrman in Corpus Christi, TX for assistance.
- USA Today: Ford Recalls 389,585 Cars For Doors That Fly Open
- NHTSA: Ford Recall
- NHTSA: Safety Recall Report
2014 Ford Recalls: Taurus, Lincoln MKS, Ford Flex and Others
2014 already has been a standout year for the auto industry; just not in a good way. There have already been a record number of vehicle recalls and there are still almost 6 months to go in the calendar year. In the newest of these recalls, Ford announced 6 recalls affecting 100,610 North American vehicles. Earlier this year GM recalled a record 25.7 million vehicles, while Ford’s recalls now total 3 million.
Latest Ford Recall
The latest Ford recall affects 2013-2014 Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and Police Interceptor sedans; 2013-2014 Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT crossovers; 2012-2014 Edge crossovers and the 2014 Lincoln MKX crossover. The problem is related to a defective axle that can render the vehicle inoperable. Ford reports that a part of axle called the right-hand half-shift is not properly seated. As a result, over time it can move out of place. When this happens the vehicle may not start. In other cases, the parked vehicle may roll unless the parking brake is engaged. If the vehicle is being driven, it may shift into neutral. The company reports that it became aware of the problem through internal tests and warranty claims.
Ford has not yet sent notices to vehicle owners but plans to start doing so during the week of August 25th. Ford has not indicated that there have been any accidents, injuries or deaths as a result of this problem. The notices will let owners know that the problem will be repaired by Ford for free.
Other Ford Recalls
The 5 other Ford recalls are relatively small. They involve 5 different car and truck models and 5 different problems. Like the axle problem, no accidents, injuries or death have been reported due to these problems.
- 2011-2014 F59 commercial stripped chassis. Corrosion in the electrical junction block may cause the trucks to short circuit. If this happens there is a risk of a fire or loss of electrical power. However, no fires have been reported. Vehicles recalled: 5,264.
- 2014 Ford Escape SUVs. The panoramic glass roofs were not glued properly during manufacturing. As a result, the roofs may leak or separate from the vehicles. Vehicles recalled: 2,124.
- 2014 F53 motor home stripped chassis and F59 commercial stripped chassis. The brake calipers were incorrectly manufactured. As a result, a leak may develop that would cause a loss in braking performance. Vehicles recalled: 635.
- 2014 Transit Connect vehicles. Brake reservoir caps in vehicles shipped to Puerto Rico have European labels that do not conform to U.S. labeling requirements. Vehicles recalled: 368.
- 2014 Ford Fiesta subcompacts. Fuel tanks may be missing an adhesive layer which could cause them to leak fuel. If this happens there is an increased risk of fire. Vehicles recalled: 197.
Fallout from Ford Recalls Compared to GM Recalls
While the latest Ford recalls contribute to the year’s overall record number of vehicle recalls, Ford’s recalls do not appear to reflect a deeper internal problem that some believe may exist at GM. One recent GM problem was kept from consumers for over 10 years. The defect also resulted in multiple deaths. As a result, GM’s CEO had to appear in Washington on at least 2 occasions to respond to questions from lawmakers regarding safety concerns.
While the recall of 3 million vehicles should be of concern to Ford management as well as owners of Ford vehicles, there does not appear to be a feeling among lawmakers that there is a pervasive or systemic internal problem at Ford that should be investigated.
Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.4M vehicles to prevent hacking
Texas Lemon Law
(Photo from Wired Magazine)
As of Friday, Fiat Chrysler has launched a giant recall of about 1.4 million cars and trucks to shield its vehicles from computer hackers. The automaker plans to protect the vehicles by updating software in the infotainment system.
“Launching a recall is the right step to protect Fiat Chrysler’s customers, and it sets an important precedent for how NHTSA and the industry will respond to cybersecurity vulnerabilities,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said.
The recall appears to have occurred after two hackers revealed that they took control of a Jeep Cherokee SUV over the Internet. The company disclosed that the hackers got into the Jeep through an electronic opening in the radio and said it would update software to close it. The hackers were able to crank up the air conditioning and take over the sound system. On Thursday, the automaker sealed off a loophole in its internal cellular telephone network with vehicles to prevent similar attacks.
Vehicles with 8.4-inch touchscreens included in the recall are 2013 to 2015 Dodge Vipers and Ram pickups; 2014 to 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees; Cherokees and Dodge Durango SUVs and 2015 Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Chargers and Challengers.
The vulnerability exposed by the hack has drawn the attention of government safety regulators, who on Friday opened an investigation into the incident. The NHTSA is now looking into all cars with the same radios.
It’s very common that vehicles have Internet-connected features such as WiFi and navigation. This makes it very convenient for drivers but leaves the car vulnerable to outside attacks.
Automakers, he said, have become accustomed to testing mechanical safety, but most aren’t doing online security testing. Carder said he wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more recalls as automakers check vehicle security. He noted that Internet-accessible cars have only been around for a few years, limiting the number of cars and trucks that could be affected.
Fiat Chrysler has stated it would contact owners of 471,000 vehicles and offer software updates to fix the problem. But documents show that the wider recall came at the urging of government safety regulators.
Fiat Chrysler, which faces penalties from NHTSA for recall delays over several years, said in documents that it agreed to the recall even though there were no problems in the field other than the Jeep attack, and it had no complaints or warranty claims. The company also implied in its statement that the hackers broke the law by manipulating a vehicle remotely without authorization.
NHTSA encouraged people to get the repairs done as soon as possible and said the recall is the right step to protect customers. “It sets an important precedent for how NHTSA and the industry will respond to cybersecurity vulnerabilities,” the agency said in a statement.
Owners of the recalled vehicles will get a USB drive that they can use to update the software. Fiat Chrysler says it provides added security beyond the cellular network fixes.
Customers can go to //www.driveuconnect.com/software-update/ with their VIN number to see if they’re included in the recall
The Texas Lemon Law protects consumers who have bought or leased a new vehicle that develops a defect that affects the vehicle’s safety or ability to be driven. The law covers cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, motor homes, and all-terrain vehicles. The law requires the manufacturer to repurchase the vehicle and provide a replacement or a refund, minus a mileage deduction.
The law requires a consumer to give the manufacturer an opportunity to make a reasonable attempt to repair the defect. You may qualify if you have taken your vehicle two or more times for the repair of a safety hazard within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles.
If you are injured by a car that is a lemon, you may have other legal options for seeking compensation. You may have an auto defect case.
Contact Us for a Courtesy Consultation about Your Auto Defect Claim
If you have been injured in an accident in Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, Brownsville, McAllen, San Antonio, Houston, Ft. Worth or the Rio Grande Valley caused by an unsafe vehicle or defective auto part, call Herrman & Herrman P.L.L.C. Let our skilled attorneys review your accident and explain your legal options.
We focus on many types of product liability cases involving defective auto parts. We have assisted thousands of people. Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. has offices to assist clients throughout Texas.