Automakers have a long history of weighing personal injury lawsuit amounts with the cost of repairing dangerous problems with their vehicles. Even though this problem first came to light in the sixties, the dangers continue to worsen as cars leave their mechanical systems behind and move to electronic ones. Even in the face of deadly accidents, automakers often spend time calculating risk to see if it's financially viable to perform the recall. This practice puts the public at risk and disrespects their customers. Here are three problems that eventually triggered recalls after the injuries and resulting lawsuits piled up.
Several vehicle models were recently fitted with an ignition that switched off when accidentally bumped by the driver. This simple defect caused steering and braking systems to lock up while drivers moved their vehicles down the road. As a result, many of the drivers crashed their vehicle while trying to figure out the cause of the failed systems.
Internal emails from the manufacturer revealed that the automaker already knew that the ignition systems were bad and didn't alert their customers. Furthermore, the company was not planning on ordering an official recall unless the lawsuit amounts totaled more than the cost to repair the faulty ignition switches.
However, mounting claims, and a growing death count, finally spurred the automaker into action. In spite of that decision, their purposefully delayed response may result in the company facing an enormous 10 billion dollar class action lawsuit in addition to the individual personal injury claims filed by their customers.
In an effort to reduce manufacturing costs of modern vehicles, several automakers sought out cheaper alternatives for safety equipment used throughout the vehicle. Unfortunately, the automakers lost that gamble when their cheaply made airbags exploded on impact.
As a result, vehicle occupants suffered severe injuries, like burns and puncture wounds, in accidents that would have only resulted in minor damage otherwise. Some of the occupants even died due to the damage sustained from the faulty safety equipment. Since automakers decided to stall instead of issuing an immediate recall, the personal injury lawsuits are continuing to roll in with class action suits soon to follow.
One automaker not only stalled on recalling defective, deadly vehicles, representatives lied about the cause of their vehicles accelerating out of control. When petitioned by the public and government to figure out the cause, the manufacturer tried to hide the faulty components by blaming the drivers' actions and floor mat design. Instead, the cause was eventually narrowed down to the gas pedal design itself.
As a result, the company is facing a hefty 1.2 billion dollar fine from the Justice Department plus lawsuits from their customers. The lawsuits will cover injuries and deaths caused by the acceleration problems linked to the gas pedal design.
The fact that the company knew about this problem for several years without warning customers or fixing it will make it difficult to fight against the lawsuits in a meaningful way. The company may find it hard to recover from the financial repercussions and blow to their reputation from their deceptive practices.
If you drive a vehicle that exhibits signs of a major fault, it's smart to take it back into the dealership for an inspection and repairs. If the dealership balks, you could end up dealing with major issues stemming from that original problem.
When faced with this situation, sometimes it is best to secure a personal injury attorney to represent you for all further interactions with the dealership representatives. If the problem results in physical injury, you can pursue compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages and medical bills with help from an accomplished lawyer. Having a legal professional to rely on during this trying situation can also reduce stress while you recover.