Motorists expect their cars to contain basic safety features that protect them. More generally, consumers rely on manufacturers to follow proper protocol and regulations to ensure their products are not unreasonably dangerous. Unfortunately, not all carmakers follow the rules when it comes to ensuring their vehicles’ parts are safe. In recent years, Honda has failed to promptly recall millions of its vehicles despite knowing of a defective airbag problem. Mark C. Hartsoe represents Knoxville residents and others who have been hurt in auto accidents involving cars subject to this recall. A knowledgeable attorney can play a critical role in protecting your right to proper compensation for your injuries.Takata Airbag and Other Recent Honda Recalls
Takata is a Japanese company that supplies airbags to many of the major car manufacturers. In 2004, reports began surfacing that Takata airbags were rupturing, causing metal bits and shrapnel to injure drivers and front seat passengers. Despite early reports regarding these explosions, involving vehicles manufactured in 2001 and afterward, Takata failed to issue a recall on its airbags until 2008. Honda and other carmakers also delayed in recalling vehicles that came equipped with these faulty safety features, which even in a minor collision could explode and injure, blind, or even kill motorists. Humidity, which is especially prevalent in Tennessee and surrounding states, increases the likelihood of these airbag failures, and so they are particularly dangerous to this state’s residents.
Since 2008, Honda has issued numerous recalls, affecting almost three million vehicles, due to these serious safety concerns. In December 2014, Honda recalled an additional three million vehicles in the United States, making the total number of recalls rise to six million. However, the Center for Auto Safety felt that these recalls came too late. It advocated for civil penalties against Honda for its delayed response to this known danger. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating Honda on suspicion of failing to report injuries and deaths due to these exploding airbags, which happened in incidents as far back as 2004.Hold Manufacturers Liable for Unsafe Vehicles
When a vehicle contains unsafe components, car manufacturers can be held liable for the harm they cause. Automakers are required to perform safety tests to make sure their vehicles are not dangerous to consumers. If a defect is discovered, the manufacturer must fix the problem, replace the part or vehicle, or issue a refund. When the defect is not resolved, or a manufacturer fails to identify or address a faulty part, and an accident results, an injured victim may be entitled to compensation. Product liability claims can be brought against car manufacturers, sellers, distributors, or vendors if it is shown these parties breached their duty to provide reasonably safe products.
Product liability claims can be based upon three different legal theories: manufacturing defect, design defect, or failure to warn. Manufacturing defects are present when the manufacturing process strays from the overall blueprint, making certain items different from other products assembled properly. To hold a company liable for a manufacturing defect, an injured party only needs to show that the product was unreasonably dangerous when it left the maker’s control.
A design defect affects all the products in a certain line as a result of a fundamental flaw in its design, making it likely to malfunction despite proper assembly. Products affected by these issues fail to work as intended, making them inherently dangerous to their users. If a design defect is prevalent in a main safety feature of a vehicle, the ability of that vehicle to protect its occupants is greatly compromised, as in the Takata airbags contained in Honda vehicles. To establish liability for a defectively designed product, an injured person must show that the vehicle was unreasonably dangerous when it was purchased, the vehicle was being used in an ordinary or foreseeable manner, and injuries and quantifiable damages resulted.
In Tennessee, product liability claims must be asserted within one year of an accident. Damages available to individuals injured by a defective product may include past and future medical bills, lost wages or earning capacity, property damages, and pain and suffering.Protect Your Rights After a Car Wreck by Contacting a Knoxville Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured by an exploding airbag, you may be entitled to damages in a product liability lawsuit. Car wreck lawyer Mark C. Hartsoe is devoted to helping Knoxville residents try to hold automakers responsible for their reckless actions. Car recall cases can require lengthy, complex investigation and nuanced legal strategies. The Hartsoe Law Firm offers dedicated representation throughout all stages of the legal process. To set up a meeting to discuss your situation with us, call (865) 524-5657 or contact us online.