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November 9, 2013

Honda Recalls Nearly 350,000 Dangerously Designed Minivans in New Mexico and Nationwide

file0002055683032 morguefile username dantada.jpgJapanese motor vehicle manufacturer Honda has issued a voluntary safety recall of nearly 350,000 Odyssey minivans in the United States. According to the automobile maker, a defective sensor in models manufactured in 2007 and 2008 may cause hydraulic pressure to build in the braking system. When that pressure releases, the vehicles may brake without warning to the driver. In addition, the unexpected braking apparently fails to illuminate the car's brake light system. Consequently, not only do drivers of the affected minivans have no control over the braking pressure, but other motorists are apparently unaware that the vehicle may be slowing down.

Honda claims the safety issue has not yet resulted in any driver or passenger injuries. Still, consumers are reportedly concerned that the vehicles many believe were designed to transport families may pose a danger. Although the vehicle manufacturer has plans to install a new sensor in affected minivans, the parts required are not expected to be available for several months. Honda has advised minivan owners to start their vehicle with the wheels facing straight ahead until the new sensors are available to consumers. Additionally, a representative for Honda stated that a tap or pump to the brake pedal should stop any unexpected self-braking. Drivers are also advised to restart the vehicle's engine if an Odyssey minivan begins to stop on its own.

Earlier this year, Honda recalled other vehicle models manufactured by the company for allegedly unrelated brake issues. The current recall was purportedly issued in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation that was launched following at least 22 consumer complaints. According to the NHTSA, the issue is troubling because an affected vehicle's speed may drop quickly by up to 30 miles per hour.

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September 18, 2013

Suzuki Issues Safety Recall for Almost 200K Vehicles in New Mexico and Across U.S. Over Passenger Airbag Problems

file000603435999 morguefile username dantada.jpgAutomobile manufacturer Suzuki has issued a safety recall for nearly 200,000 vehicles manufactured between 2006 and 2011. According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the company received at least 66 reports related to apparently faulty front passenger airbags in Grand Vitara sport utility vehicles and SX4 hatchbacks and sedans between 2007 and 2012. The recall was issued because the weight sensors installed in affected vehicle seat cushions may become disconnected and allow an airbag to deploy when it should be deactivated. As a result, the airbag can deploy in the event of a collision and children or small passengers traveling in the front seat may be placed at risk of severe injury or death.

Last year, Suzuki agreed to extend the airbag sensor warranty in the same vehicles, but did not issue a recall. In June, the NHTSA began an investigation into the matter after the agency reportedly received more than 125 complaints regarding malfunctioning passenger seat airbag warning lights and sensors. As part of the recall, Suzuki dealers will reportedly replace the entire seat in the vehicles. Still, parts are reportedly difficult to obtain since the United States division of Suzuki Motors filed bankruptcy in November 2012. At this time, it is unclear when the recall repairs will begin or be completed.

Unfortunately, some personal injuries are caused by a defective product such as an automobile part. This situation is especially troubling due to the rapid speed and force with which airbags normally deploy. Regrettably, such a defect may result in disabling harm or death for a child or other small passenger.

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June 26, 2013

Bloomfield Woman Dies in Tragic Single-Vehicle Crash on I-40 East of Albuquerque

19435_spare_tyre sxchu username crondeau.jpgA 45-year-old Bloomfield woman was tragically killed in a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 40 near Zuzax. According to a representative for the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, Sergeant Aaron Williamson, the woman was driving east on the roadway when the tread on a rear tire came loose and she lost control of her automobile. Williamson said the woman struck a center barrier near mile marker 177. Emergency responders reportedly transported the 45-year-old to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque where she later died as a result of the injuries she sustained in the crash.

Thankfully, no one else was hurt in the traffic wreck. Williamson stated the eastbound lanes of the interstate were closed for about two hours following the fatal accident. He advised motorists to inspect the tires on their vehicles prior to traveling on the freeways in New Mexico. Williamson said the summer heat combined with often high speeds may create dangerous conditions.

Sadly, single-vehicle traffic collisions happen often on the many highways across the State of New Mexico. In 2011, 353 people died in car accidents across our state. 240 of those killed reportedly died as a result of the injuries sustained in a single-car crash. Speeding, automobile defects, dangerous road conditions, swerving to avoid a negligent driver, and weather are frequent causes of single-vehicle collisions.

Sometimes, traffic wrecks are caused by a defective product such as a tire. As was unfortunately the case in this situation, such crashes may result in catastrophic injury or death for a passenger or driver. A tire or other product is normally considered defective if it harms an individual as a result of a negligent design, inadequate testing, or poor manufacturing. Additionally, a design defect may also cause someone to become hurt by a product that was manufactured according to specifications. If you were injured or someone you love was killed by an unsafe product such as a tire, you may be entitled to collect damages for your injuries from the manufacturer or the distributor of the defective product.

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June 25, 2013

General Motors Recall Expanded to Include Unsafe SUVs in New Mexico and Throughout Nation

800px-Chevrolet_TrailBlazer_--_06-05-2010 By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.jpgGeneral Motors has issued a safety recall for nearly 200,000 model year 2005 through 2007 sport utility vehicles. The recall was issued as a result of alleged fire hazards that may result from problems with the electrical system in a number of vehicles manufactured by the company. In 2012, a similar recall was issued for almost 300,000 vehicles in select states where often corrosive road salt is used. The expanded recall now includes affected Buick Rainier, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT, GMC Envoy, GMC Envoy XL, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7x models in New Mexico and across the nation.

The additional recall was reportedly issued at the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Previously, the automobile manufacturer stated water could become trapped inside of the vehicle door and cause power windows and locks to short circuit. According to General Motors spokesperson Alan Adler, 58 fires and 11 injuries have resulted from the vehicle defects. He added that General Motors was only notified of six fires and one minor injury in states not included in the original recall. Adler said the problem appeared to be more prevalent in areas where water and slush may enter a vehicle door during the winter.

Clarence Ditlow, Executive Director for The Center for Auto Safety said the additional recall proves that regional recalls like the one issued by General Motors last year are inadequate. He reportedly believes the cost saving measure does not reach all unsafe vehicles. Ditlow stated the safety recall should have been issued across the entire nation in the first place. It is unclear why General Motors was allowed to issue a regional recall since the NHTSA required Honda to issue a nationwide recall for a similar issue related to nearly half a million vehicles in 2012.

Some traffic wrecks are caused by a defective product such as a tire or automobile. Unfortunately, such accidents can result in catastrophic injury or death for a motorist or passenger. A defective product is one that is negligently manufactured, designed, or tested, and someone is hurt as a result. In addition, a design defect may cause a person to become injured by a product even where it was manufactured according to specifications. If you or a close relative was harmed by an unsafe product, you may have the right to collect financial compensation for your injuries from the manufacturer or the distributor.

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March 21, 2013

Family injured in One-Vehicle Rollover Crash on I-40 Near Albuquerque

963267_flat_tire sxchu username cmpt.jpgMembers of a family in the process of relocating from California to Texas were injured in a recent rollover crash on Interstate 40 in Bernalillo County. A couple and their three children were reportedly traveling east in a GMC Sierra pick-up truck between Albuquerque and Edgewood when a tire blew and the driver lost control around 3:30 am. According to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, the truck, which was towing an 18-foot trailer, left the interstate and rolled twice before coming to rest on the side of the roadway. The mangled trailer allegedly broke open and left the family's belongings strewn about the area.

A 6-year-old boy who was reportedly not wearing a safety belt was injured after he was thrown from the truck. Authorities stated the child was found lying next to the vehicle with a broken arm and a number of contusions. His father, who was riding in the truck's front passenger seat, apparently sustained a dislocated hip and shoulder in the traffic wreck. Meanwhile, the child's mother and two sisters purportedly suffered only minor cuts and bruises. Emergency responders reportedly transported the entire family by ambulance to the University of New Mexico Hospital for treatment.

Many one-car and other types of crashes occur on the interstates and other roadways throughout New Mexico. Sadly, 353 people died in traffic accidents throughout our state in 2011. Of those killed, 240 fatalities resulted from a single-vehicle accident. Dangerous road conditions, motor vehicle defects, swerving to avoid a negligent driver, and weather frequently cause single-car crashes.

In some situations, a defective product such as a tire or automobile may cause a driver or passenger to become injured. A defective product is one that is poorly or negligently manufactured, designed, or tested, and a person is hurt as a result. A design defect may occur if someone is injured by a product even though it was manufactured according to specifications. A manufacturing defect can occur where an individual is hurt as a result of mistakes made during the manufacturing process. If you or a loved one was hurt by an unsafe product, you may have the right to collect damages for your injuries from the manufacturer or the distributor of the defective product.

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September 17, 2012

One Killed, Seven Injured in Santa Fe County Rollover Accident

869866_crash_car%20sxchu%20website.jpgOne man was recently killed and seven other people were injured in a rollover crash on northbound Interstate 25 in Santa Fe County. The accident reportedly occurred after a rear tire blew on a 2001 Ford Expedition driven by 40-year-old Crystal Tina Sione of Las Vegas, New Mexico. According to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department, the woman over-corrected and lost control of the vehicle following the tire blow-out. The Expedition reportedly left the roadway and rolled several times down an embankment.

Sione’s husband, 51-year-old Alani Tuineau Sione was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene of the crash. Lt. Joe McLaughlin stated everyone else who was injured in the accident is expected to recover. Emergency responders reportedly took 27-year-old Landis Lavea, her three children, 21-year-old David Johnson, and the driver to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center for treatment of the injuries they sustained in the tragic accident. The driver’s 8-year-old daughter was transported to The University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

According to McLaughlin, the group was returning to Las Vegas from a Rugby match in Albuquerque when the accident occurred. Alani Sione and Johnson were both members of a rugby club associated with Highlands University. Both men reportedly played in the Albuquerque match.

Although the cause of the crash is still under investigation, alcohol is reportedly not a suspected factor in the incident. It is currently unclear whether all of the passengers in the Explorer were wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

Regrettably, people are killed in car crashes on New Mexico roads and freeways every day. An automobile collision can result from many factors including driver intoxication or carelessness, automobile defects, or dangerous road conditions. Individuals who were hurt in a collision may be able to recover financial compensation for their medical expenses, suffering, pain, lost earnings, any resulting disability, and other damages. If you were injured in a New Mexico motor vehicle crash, you should contact a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as you are able.

Sometimes, an automobile defect may cause an unexpected automobile accident like this one. If a defectively manufactured tire, motor vehicle, or other product has caused you to become injured, you may have a damages claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the product. A capable products liability lawyer can help you file your claim.

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June 26, 2012

Two Killed, Four Injured in I-25 Rollover Crash Near Hatch

565019_old_tyres%20sxchu.jpgTwo people died Tuesday morning after the vehicle they were traveling in rolled in a single-car crash on Interstate 25 between Hatch and Las Cruces, New Mexico. A sport utility vehicle carrying a group of relatives was traveling southbound on the way to Chihuahua, Mexico when it reportedly blew a tire and left the roadway. Four of the six passengers traveling in the SUV were ejected from the vehicle. One man, 50-year-old Daniel Chavez, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Another passenger, Elsa Hernandez of Albuquerque, later died as a result of her injuries. Emergency responders transported the four survivors to University Medical Center in El Paso. At least two of the survivors were taken to the hospital via medical helicopter. According to New Mexico State Police, none of the vehicle’s passengers was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Tragically, people are killed in motor vehicle accidents while traveling on New Mexico roads each and every day. Crashes may be caused by any number of factors including driver inattention, drunken or reckless driving, hazardous road conditions, or automobile defects. Those hurt in a car accident may be eligible to receive compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and any disability that resulted from the crash. Additionally, those who lose a close relative in a New Mexico auto accident may be able to collect damages for loss of support and funeral expenses. If you lost a beloved family member in a car crash, a qualified Albuquerque wrongful death attorney can answer any questions you may have.

In some cases, a defective product such as a tire or vehicle may cause someone to become injured. Products are generally defective when they are poorly or negligently designed, manufactured, or tested and someone is injured as a result. A design defect can occur if someone is injured by a product such as a sport utility vehicle even where it was manufactured according to specifications. Additionally, a manufacturing defect may occur where an individual is hurt as a result of errors made during the manufacturing process. If you were the victim in a New Mexico product liability case, you may have the right to receive compensation for your injuries from the manufacturer or the distributor of the faulty product.

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January 24, 2011

Toyota Sued for "Runaway" Damages

Allstate insurance, Fireman’s Fund, and six other automobile insurance companies have filed lawsuits against Toyota. The insurance companies are asking to be reimbursed for losses paid because of crashes caused by “runaway” Toyotas.

The insurers claim that there is a “product defect” in Toyota vehicles that causes sudden, unintended acceleration. When unintended acceleration occurs, the driver looses control. The brakes are unable to override the acceleration.

The lack of brake-override system in older model Toyotas is another product defect. Over 80% of its new vehicles now on sale are equipped with the “brake-override” control feature. Toyota intends to be the first carmaker to offer the safety technology in all of its models. The safety software is intended to ensure that, when the car experiences unintended acceleration, pressure on the break will cause the engine to reduce thrust and return to “idle” mode.

The victims of “runaway” Toyotas have filed numerous lawsuits for personal injuries and wrongful deaths. It is estimated that Toyota may be liable for more than $10 billion.

Reports of “runaway” Toyotas began in 2000. Toyota has always maintained that the unintended acceleration was due to driver error, improper floor mats, or sticky accelerator peddles. Toyota has always denied that there is an electronic flaw in its vehicles. Government studies have found no evidence of a glitch in Toyotas electronics.

In wrongful death and personal injury litigation, Toyota may well prevail on its claim that there is no glitch in its electronics. Toyota’s liability might rest on the absence of a fail-safe override system. A fail-safe override system was not introduced until 2010.

New Mexico personal injury lawyers can sue Toyota for damages cause by Toyota’s defective vehicles. Toyota’s liability for wrongful death and bodily injury damages will not make the plaintiffs “whole.” It will, however, lessen the burden of losses caused by a decade of “runaway” Toyotas.

January 3, 2011

Toyota Settlement of $10,000,000 - More to come?

On August 20, 2009, a runaway Lexus crashed and burned. The four occupants of the vehicle were killed. Before the crash, a passenger made a frantic 911 call from the vehicle. The passenger told the 911 operator that the driver could not control the vehicle, the accelerator was stuck, and that the breaks were not working.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Toyota, the manufacturer of the Lexus, and against the Lexus dealership, which installed an over-sized floor mat in the vehicle.

In September 2010, Toyota paid 10 million dollars to settle the wrongful death claims against it. The action for damages against the dealership continues.

The runaway Lexus was “loaner” from the local Lexus dealer. The dealer had installed a floor mat designed for a larger vehicle. Sheriff’s investigators concluded that the gas petal became stuck under the over-sized floor mat.

Another customer drove the “loaner” Lexus a few day earlier. He reported that the Lexus raced out of control and the gas pedal became stuck on the floor mat. He was able to regain control after he put the gear shift into neutral. He said he reported the problem to the Lexus dealer.

The attorney for the plaintiffs in the wrongful death lawsuit says that the plaintiffs regard the dealer as the party responsible for the deadly crash. The attorney said the plaintiffs will ask that the wrongful death damages assessed against the Lexus dealer be in an amount in excess of the 10 million dollars paid by Toyota.

New Mexico’s wrongful death law is similar to California's. If the deadly crash had happened in New Mexico and the wrongful death claims were filed in a New Mexico court, the outcome would be the same as in the California case. After the jury determines the total amount of the wrongful death damages, the jury would be asked to asses the percentage of the total damage that was due to the negligence of the Lexus dealer. The dealer would be liable for the share of the damages caused by it’s negligence.

October 29, 2010

Defective Airbag Cases - Preservation is the key

Airbags are now common place throughout the nation. We rely on airbags to protect us when the unthinkable happens. However, defective airbags can be just as harmful, if not more dangerous than no airbag at all.

Defective airbag lawsuits generally involve a limited series of claims. The airbag deployed with too much force, too little force, or it failed to deploy under the appropriate force. An experienced airbag attorney (not meant as a slur) is aware that such cases are often very technical and usually require an expert to study the vehicle as soon as possible to provide an opinion regarding what caused the airbag to deploy defectively, or fail to deploy all together.

Given the high costs that an attorney must front in defective airbag cases, the severity of injury is a major factor for product liability attorneys selecting which cases to pursue. However, if you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective airbag, it is wise to contact an attorney experienced in defective airbag litigation before allowing the vehicle to be moved, inspected, or repaired by an insurance company.

October 24, 2010

Defective Cribs and Product Cases

Defective cribs, and other children’s products are some of the most scary recalls. Sadly, the users of these products lack the level of caution and reason we expect from adults or even older children. One new recall of dangerous and defective cribs highlights the dangers of what can occur when these products are not designed or built well.

The consumer product safety commission recently announced that 40,000 cribs are being recalled do to sides that can drop causing serious injury and even death. Since 2000, dropped sides in cribs have caused 32 deaths and are suspected in even more. Although this is a small number considering the millions of cribs sold during this same period, anyone will agree that a single death caused by a defective crib is too many.

The recall affects Ethan Allen, Angel Line, and Victory Land brand cribs. Hopefully the use of these dangerous crib are coming to an end as the CPSC passed a measure to ban drop-side cribs this past July.

April 12, 2010

Toyota Prius Cases: From New Mexico to California

Attorneys on both sides of new Toyota litigation arising from the injuries and deaths allegedly caused by defects in the design of the Toyota Prius have petitioned a single California district court to assume jurisdiction over hundreds of lawsuits pending across the nation. The system under which this consolidation would occur for cases such as Toyota Prius Litigation, called "Multidistrict Litigation" or MDL, helps conserve the resources of the judiciary and the parties involved in the lawsuit, by unifying the process by which all sides conduct trial preparation. After this trial preparation, or discovery, is completed, the case returns to the original jurisdiction for trial, if necessary. Thus, a person who was injured in a Prius in New Mexico would file his or her case in the District of New Mexico; it would then be transferred to whatever federal district was assigned the MDL and returned to New Mexico for trial. Because of the large number of plaintiffs who are affected, MDL most often occurs in product liability cases and environmental and toxic torts.

December 2, 2008

New Mexico Baby Formula Scare

Parents in Otero and Lea Counties are at a high level of alert after reports that two infants contracted e. Sakazakii, a bacteria believed to be connected to the preparation of baby formula. One infant passed away as a result of the illness, while another was hospitalized. Given the recent baby formula deaths in China, it is hard to rule out the two incidents as coincidence. However, hopefully tha tis exactly what it is and not the first signs of a possible New Mexico product liability action.

While the matter is investigated further, doctors are recommending that parents and caregivers ensure that everything is clean during the preparation of formula. This would apply to both the bottles being used as well as the hands of whoever is mixing formula.

Hopefully this issue is resolved immediately without additional victims.