Recently in Product Liability Category

May 27, 2015

Record Number of Airbag Recalls After Deadly Explosions

Takata, a world-wide airbag manufacturer, has announced that it has started recalling a record number of airbags. Evidently, the recall was in response to several deaths that occurred as a result of the faulty airbags.

interior-car-details-4-223790-m.jpgThe airbags pose a serious risk of exploding and emitting debris and dangerous shrapnel toward passengers in the car. According to national news reports, the recall may take up to five years to actually complete because the airbags are not brand-centric and have been placed in many different cars. In fact, many owners may not even be aware of who the manufacturer of their airbags is. An expert who is working with the company to facilitate the recall explained that approximately 25%-30% of airbags may not be replaced because many of the cars are several years old and have gone through many owners. As of the most recent reports, the company has manufactured about four million replacements, and they are hoping to double their manufacturing capacity by the fall.

Where to File a Claim in a Product Liability Suit in New Mexico

As described above, several people have been killed because of the faulty airbags, and it is likely that others who were unaware at the time of the accident may commence a personal injury suit as well. The issue that arises in these types of situations is the question of jurisdiction. This basically is the determination of where the suit can be filed because the manufacturer is often not where the individual actually resides or where the injury took place. Generally, personal injury claims in New Mexico can brought in the county where the defendant is living or where the accident actually happened. In New Mexico, district courts have what is termed "general jurisdiction" over any injury for which the plaintiff claims the damages are over $10,000.

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May 20, 2015

Ford Recalls Over 500K Vehicles over Various Safety Concerns

After a series of recalls in March, Ford has announced an additional set of vehicles that will be subject to various recalls. According to a Consumer Reports article, Ford has issued over 600,000 vehicle recalls related to faulty steering, pumps, lights, and safety latches. Back in March of this year, the vehicle manufacturer recalled over 200,000 2011-2013 Ford Explorers. The recall was focused on malfunctioning door latches that presented the dangerous possibility of the latches springing open during an accident.

cars-1100643-m.jpgAfter the recalls, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted an investigation into the safety of Ford vehicles. As a result of the investigation, Ford subsequently recalled 2012-2014 Ford Fiestas, 2013-2014 Fusions, 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZs, and Ford Edges. The automaker concedes that it is possible that these models are built with certain attachments that may break because of corrosion that would result in a loss of power. This dangerous lack of power can make the vehicle difficult to control, which could result in a crash. Additionally, some other concerns surround issues with the fuel pump, which could cause a vehicle to stall or not start while it is in use. Lastly, some of the vehicles were built without heat shields on the parking lights, which can result in a fire or explosion.

Ford has stated that these recalls are extremely serious, and owners can take their cars in to certified dealerships for repairs at no cost.

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February 10, 2015

Nine-Year-Old New Mexico Wrestling Champ Dies in Playground Accident

A young New Mexican boy died tragically in a playground accident late last month. According to local New Mexico news reports, the child's family has asked that details regarding the type of accident not be revealed at this point. The only information that has been dispersed is that the accident occurred on equipment in the family's backyard.

playground-in-blue-and-orange-1443644-m.jpgEvidently, the young boy was a national wrestling champion, and he had aspirations of competing in the Olympics. The third grader spent several hours a day practicing and assisting his peers. The young boy's family stated that many people have been reaching out to provide their support to the family. The child's funeral services were held last week.

Product Liability Cases in New Mexico

Although details in the above case are currently sparse, playground injuries can oftentimes result from issues relating to defective equipment, thus falling under product liability law. In New Mexico, and many other states, consumers or users of a product may be able to bring a product liability claim if they or a loved one has been injured or killed because of a product they used.

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May 26, 2014

General Motors Recalls Nearly 2.5 Million Cars, Bringing The Total to 13.6 Million Vehicles Recalled in 2014.

General Motors announced the recall of 2.42 million vehicles last week. This represents the latest in an unrelenting stream of vehicles that General Motors has needed to recall this year. The latest recalls are for four separate issues, affecting the Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac Escalade ESV, Chevy Silverado, and GMC Sierra HD. According to a General Motors press release, the recent recalls were made to address problems with the seat belts separating and air bag deployment.

mountain-drive-1442174-m.jpgWhile these latest recalls address serious safety concerns with General Motors vehicles, the car maker's largest worries are related to a separate series of recalls caused by a fault in the ignition switch located behind the steering wheel. According to an NPR article, the ignition on some GM vehicles would turn from the "On" position to the "Accessory" position for no apparent reason. This would lock the steering wheel and prevent the airbags from deploying in the event of a collision.

In February 2014, General Motors acknowledged the problem and issued a public apology to the families of at least 14 people who have been killed and more than 17 who were injured from the faulty ignition switch. Additionally, a recall has been expanded to include 1.6 million more vehicles. Vehicles that may have the faulty ignition include 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstices, and the 2007 Saturn Sky. Any of these vehicles could be extremely dangerous and lead to a deadly New Mexico auto accident..

Continue reading "General Motors Recalls Nearly 2.5 Million Cars, Bringing The Total to 13.6 Million Vehicles Recalled in 2014. " »

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.

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

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.