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Product Liability Lawyer —Defective Vehicles

Americans and motor vehicles have a love affair unique in all the world. Most of us cannot imagine life without personal motor vehicles. We rely on them to take us to and from work, deliver our children to school, and for daily needs like grocery shopping, going to the bank and running errands. As an inherent part of our everyday lifestyle, we depend on them being safe for us and our families. Vehicle or component part defects can have disastrous consequences for unsuspecting drivers and passengers. Fuel systems (or any other vehicle components) should not catch fire either before, during or after an accident. Seats should not fail in an accident. Seatbelts and shoulder belts should not fail to restrain in an accident. Interior surfaces should not cause injuries. Roofs should not collapse into occupants during an accident. Vehicles should not rollover. Occupant space should not be severely compromised in an accident. Brakes or steering should not fail. Airbags should not fail to deploy in a frontal impact.

Tires should not disintegrate or otherwise fail. Today’s vehicles are integrated systems that are supposed to protect occupants in crashes without endangering those in other vehicles. At Bush Lewis our product liability lawyers handle cases nationwide where people are seriously injured because of motor vehicle defects and failures that should never exist.

Holding Large Corporations Accountable

Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, Firestone and other vehicle and component manufacturers are household names. News stories alert us when they are forced to recall products because of product defects that harm or kill people. Unfortunately, product recalls often do not occur until someone is seriously or fatally injured, and frequently it takes a lawsuit (or, far too often, multiple lawsuits) before companies own up and take responsible action to keep people safe. Product liability attorneys can be your voice to send the message that motor vehicle manufacturers should not put profits before driver’s and passenger’s safety.

Recent Defective Vehicles Product Recalls

According to the Risk and Safety Management Alert System (RASMAS) 2010 reports (, Honda expanded its recall of certain 2001 and 2002 models to replace driver’s side airbag inflators because high pressure deployments were rupturing the inflator casings, which could cause injury or fatality. Toyota recalled 2010 Pries and Lexis vehicles to update anti-lock brake system software. Toyota also recalled vehicles to fix accelerator pedals that were sticking.

Common Types of Vehicle Defects

Bush Lewis helps clients pursue cases involving common vehicle defects that result in serious accidents, such as:
  • Roof crush. SUVs that are designed to be light to save on gas mileage and that have a top-heavy design and narrow wheel bases are prone to rollover, especially during unexpected maneuvers such as tire blowouts or swerving to miss obstructions in the road.
  • SUV rollover. Structural supports of an SUV must be able to sustain a rollover. Otherwise the crashworthiness of the vehicle is not substantial and the roofs crush during rollover, seriously injuring and often killing people.
  • Seat belt failure. Since the mid-1960’s, vehicle manufacturers have been required to furnish seat belts in the front seats of cars. By 1984, New York passed the first seat belt law requiring drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. Today wearing seat belts is a safety issue, and consequently manufacturers are liable when seat belt failures injure people. Common reasons for seat belt malfunction include:
    • Defective latching
    • Latches failing to hold during collision
    • Weak seat belt webbing that tears
    • Retractor defects that prevent locking during impact
    • Seatbelt anchor installation at poor angles or locations
  • Faulty airbags. Airbags that fail to deploy during collision, deploy unexpectedly for no apparent reason, or that deploy too forcefully can injure drivers and passengers. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that more than 1.4 million airbag recalls occurred in 2004. Faulty airbag design, installation and defective airbag parts can cause malfunction. While airbag function has improved through “smart” airbags that adjust based on weight and size, properly functioning airbags with flawed design can still seriously injure or kill people.
  • Fuel system fires. In particular, vehicles with gas tanks located on the far side of the rear axle are prone to fires in rear-end collisions. Vehicles known for this type of design flaw were Ford Pintos (1970s) and Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town cars, and Mercury Grand Marquis sedans. Another faulty design susceptible to tank explosion is the Chevy pick up truck models where gas tanks were located outside the truck frame. General Motors (GM) produced trucks with this design from 1973 to 1987 and in the early 1990’s faced over a hundred lawsuits for product liability based on fuel tank fires. Other factors that can make vehicles ignite are defective materials in the fuel lines and defective fuel lines.
  • Tire Defects. Some tires are prone to defects that cause tread separation, tread peel-off, and sudden tire blowouts—all of which can make a vehicle difficult to control. Tire defects pose greater danger for vehicles with a high center of gravity like SUVs, which have greater incidences of rollover and roof crush than regular passenger cars.
  • Parts malfunction. General Motors Company (GMC) recalled 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazers, Jimmys and Oldsmobile Bravada SUVs for brake and hazard lights failures. In 2001, GMC recalled 1.38 million GMC light trucks and SUVs due to brake system defects. Other types of auto part recalls include defective suspension parts and clutch pedals.

Put the Skills and Experience of Our Product Liability Attorneys to Work

Effective representation requires thorough accident investigation to determine whether product defects were involved. At Bush Lewis our product liability attorneys use engineers, accident reconstruction specialists, and other experts to analyze and evaluate defective vehicles and automotive products. Expert testimony is necessary for proving manufacturer liability and claiming damages in a vehicle defect case. Some parts are defective due to design flaws and others are defective because some aspect of the manufacturing was nonstandard. Our firm has the expertise, integrity and commitment to take on large companies and seek the compensation you are entitled by law to receive.

We offer a free case evaluation to discuss your accident, vehicle defects and the prospects of pursuing a products liability lawsuit. Call 409-835-3521 today or contact Bush Lewis online.

Know This Before An Accident

No one plans to have an accident and no one expects to sustain a serious injury or lose a loved one to death from someone else's actions or mistake. It helps to at least have heard what experienced lawyers say you can do to ease the situation. At Bush Lewis, we think there are some helpful guidelines that we recommend to you. Our lawyers suggest: Learn more.