Tennessee Product Liability Law: Motor Vehicle Product Defects
One of the most innovative inventions of the last century was that of the automobile, taking individuals where they needed to go more specifically than by any other modes of transportation available at the time. Unfortunately, however, it was also one of the deadliest inventions of the century as well. Causing well over 30,000 accident-related fatalities in the U.S. every year, the automobile is subject to continual updates and enhancements of safety features. This scrutiny is often times focused on the design and manufacture of parts and components which are integral to the proper functioning of these vehicles.
At InjuryTN, our experienced product liability lawyers are intimately familiar with numerous cases in recent years that involve evidence emerging which indicates that auto manufacturers were aware of such hazards and were not only equipped with insufficient warnings, but also actively worked to hide this risk from consumers.
Among the most common of defects in motor vehicles manufactured in the past ten years are the following:
- Airbags that deploy with extreme force in an accident or failing to deploy altogether
- Brake failure
- Defective tires
- Electrical hazards which could result in fires (especially for electric vehicles)
- Seatbelts or safety restraints which fail to properly work
- Seats and seat backs which unpredictably fail when being used as intended
- Stability problems which lead to a higher risk of crushed roofs and rollover accidents
- Steering components which cause loss of control over the vehicle
- Transmission gears and/or gas pedals which get stuck and result in accidental acceleration
- Wheels which break and/or crack, causing a loss of control over the vehicle
Defective Motor Vehicle Product Laws in Tennessee
According to Title 49, Chapter 31 of the U.S. Code for Motor Vehicle Safety establishes that motor vehicle safety can be defined as how well a vehicle performs when it comes to protecting consumers from unreasonable risk of injury or accidents. Safety defects can generally be defined as issues which are present in a motor vehicle its components which poses a serious threat to consumer safety and often includes a wider selection of vehicles.
In comparison to other common products, motor vehicles and their components are among those with the highest recall rates in the world. In fact, Forbes has recently reported that more vehicles had been recalled than sold by certain manufacturers throughout the course of the past 30 years. Such manufacturers aren’t even a valid representation of others claiming the greatest amount of recalled vehicles. For example, General Motors has recalled almost 100 million vehicles since the late 1980s, Ford has recalled 97 million vehicles, Toyota recalling nearly 40 million, and Honda recalls totaling 31 million.
According to the New York Times, 2014 saw the highest number of automobiles and their parts being recalled more than had ever been precedented before, totaling more than 59 million units –– twice that of previous record from 2004. In total, the year saw more than 675 recall announcements, meaning that, on average, there were almost 2 recalls announced a day that year, affecting nearly 20% of all cars on the road.
Contact Our Office Today
If you or someone you know has been injured because of a defective car or car part, you should seek immediate legal assistance to ensure fair compensation.
Recent Auto Recalls in the US
In recent years, numerous manufacturers and automakers have come forward to recall their products which have been distributed to the masses, some of them are included the following:
- Ford – issues involving seatbelts
- More than 200,000 vehicles affected
- General Motors – defective ignition switch
- 2003-2011 Models
- Associated with at least 50 fatalities
- Kia – fire risks
- Affecting more than 85,000 sedans
- Subaru – faulty brake lines
- Recalled nearly 200,000 vehicles
- Toyota Avalon – wiring fire hazard
- More than 50,000 vehicles affected
- Airbags manufactured by Takata – airbags explode with excessive force
- Affecting nearly 8 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers
- Associated with at least 6 fatalities and over 100 injuries
During this time, U.S. auto regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continue to receive almost 100,000 complaints from consumers regarding potentially deadly auto defects every year, more than twice what the annual average was 10 years ago.
Manufacturer’s Liability for Product Defects
Even in cases where recalls are issued, auto manufacturers are not exempt from bearing the responsibility of damages resulting from defective or dangerous vehicles or parts. In such cases, a failure to comply with rules and regulations regarding the manufacture of such products is often found to be the culprit, with those responsible merely notifying consumers of the defect by way of mail. According to reports from the Government Accountability Office has shown that the auto recall completion rates in the US are somewhere in the range of 55% to 75%. These flaws are especially prominent when locating owners of vehicles which may be older in age and/or purchased used.
For comparison, if a mere 65% of the alleged defective Takata airbags are repaired, then almost 6 million defective vehicles would remain in the public, riding throughout the country with the potential of having an explosive air bag inflator. Of course, consumers do bear the responsibility to make safety a top priority when shopping for their next vehicle, but auto manufacturers owe their consumers a duty of care in ensuring the safety of their products.
Contact Our Team of Skilled Product Liability Attorneys
Defective motor vehicle products can be dangerous and even deadly if not corrected, that’s why it’s so important to seek out skilled legal help to protect your rights and champion for your best interest. In the event that you or someone you care about has been injured or suffered a fatal injury because of a motor vehicle product defect, our attorneys are here to help you traverse the legal labyrinth that follows. Contact our firm today to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury and product liability attorney to discuss your rights and determine your best way forward. There are no costs or fees until we win your case.