Articles Posted in Defective Vehicles

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Electronic power assisted steering, sometimes referred to as EPAS, have become an integral part of many newer vehicles. These systems have replaced a lot of the mechanical parts of previous steering assist systems that included pulleys, pumps and fluids. In its place is a tiny computer and a great deal of code. These systems are lighter than the hydraulic ones they replace and they have variable power to help the driver better at lower speeds. They can also be helpful when a vehicle drifts or pulls to one side. 

However, these systems are complex, and problems with them can be difficult to diagnose and repair. Ford in particular has come under fire for their EPAS systems. Some consumers have even alleged vehicle defects with the power steering system. Specifically, some have asserted that a defect renders the system prone to sudden and premature failure during ordinary and foreseeable driving situations. This means the driver must suddenly increase their steering effort, which can result in a loss of control. Also problematic is that when the EPAS fails, there is no warning to alert the driver – no chime, no ding, no dash lights, nothing.

This is what was alleged in the recent case of Jackson v. Ford Motor Co., recently weighed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Plaintiff, who was a passenger in the vehicle her husband was driving, said the couple was traveling on U.S. Highway 70 in Tennessee when “suddenly and without warning,” the vehicle darted left across the center line and into oncoming traffic. The vehicle was then struck head-on by another car. As a result of the car accident, plaintiff’s husband died. Plaintiff herself suffered life-threatening injuries, which she ultimately survived by left her permanently disabled.  Continue reading →

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Chevrolet Volt runs a serious risk of bursting into flames after a serious side-collision, as could potentially happen in a car accident in Stuart City. Recently, the NHTSA conducted a number of crash tests on the vehicle to determine how well it could protect the vehicle’s occupants in the event of a side collision. During one of the tests, the car’s battery was damaged and a coolant line cracked. Afterward, the car faced increased risks of a fire and eventually experienced one. The NHTSA is working with the Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors (GM) and the Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct thorough tests to determine what exactly happened, how to prevent these incidents and how to correct them.

The findings from the NHTSA have consumers worried. GM is helping by offering to buy the car back from owners. Our Stuart City defective vehicles lawyers understand that the chief executive of General Motors, Dan Akerson, said the company will happily purchase back the Chevy Volt from any concerned consumer. The NHTSA has not completed its investigation into the incident and an official recall has not been made, but GM is willing to ease the minds of consumers before a real problem happens.

“While the investigation is going on, we will do whatever it takes to allay concerns and keep our customers happy,” said GM spokesman Greg Martin, “and if that includes repurchase, we will work individually with any customer.”

Martin says that if GM’s engineering team and NHTSA finds out what exactly is causing the fires then the motor-vehicle company will recall and retrofit those who already own the vehicle.

There have been nearly 10,000 sold so far. About 30 owners have already hit up the company for loaner vehicles until the investigation is complete. The details of the repurchase plan haven’t been determined yet.

Jessica Caldwell, an auto analyst, says that GM is fortunate to have only sold about 10,000 of these vehicles. Results could have been much worse both financially and logistically if the Chevrolet Volt was a more popular vehicle. Experts don’t expect many consumers will likely sell back the vehicle, considering it offers roughly 40 miles per gallon and that the fires happen weeks are a side collision.

“There are a couple of mistakes that have been made, but we all trying to do the right things,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s North America chief. “We are moving fast.”

Consumers are urged to do their research before purchasing a new vehicle. Everyone should visit the website to check out the latest safety recalls. You can also check out vehicles’ safety ratings and other cool features. Be a smart consumer and do your homework to help prevent an accident from a defective vehicle.
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The Florida Legislature recently started the process of passing two bills that could put part of the blame on the victim in cases where accidents involve a defective vehicle, Automotive Discovery. Currently, Florida law deems the manufacturer to be completely responsible for serious or fatal injuries that result from a Palm Beach car accident caused by a defective product.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers urge you to stand against these bills as manufacturers need to take full responsibility when a defective automobile results in serious or fatal injury to a consumer.

“What they decided was the jury would not be able to hear all the evidence in these types of cases. And that’s wrong. That’s absolutely wrong,” said Sen. John Thrasher.

The bills come after the Florida Supreme Court sided with Ford Motor Co. and other automobile manufacturers when a trial neglected to allow jurors to consider the cause of an accident, according to The Palm Beach Post. This is was D’Amario vs. Ford Motor Co. case.

“We Floridians buy these vehicles and we are led to believe that they will be safe, and safe from inherent defects that will cause secondary issues that can cause even more damage, injuries to people,” said Sen. Maria Sachs, R-Delray Beach. “Those manufacturers should be held accountable whether it’s a tractor, a motor vehicle.”

The bill “changes Florida law to permit juries in a Florida courtroom to hear all of the facts leading up to a products liability case, thereby allowing that jury to apportion fault,” said Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, sponsor of SB 142. “It’s an opportunity to put all the facts on the table.”

We urge you to contact your Florida House of Representative to express your opposition to these bills. Because of these new bills, it is now more important than ever to contact an experienced attorney if you’ve been involved in a car accident you believe may be the result of a defective product.
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