Experienced Maryland Attorney Helping People Injured by Defective Auto Parts
Protecting the rights of those injured by defective auto parts and products for more than 30 years
When you purchase a car—whether it is new or used—you expect it to work correctly. Your car is a complex piece of machinery with hundreds of moving parts that are all designed to work together to get you where you’re going safely. And you rely on the design and manufacture of the vehicle to ensure that journey is safe. However, sometimes seat belts fail, tires blow out, vehicles roll over, or worse.
If an automobile manufacturer allows a defective vehicle on the road, or a flawed part is installed in your car, you can end up with an injury. Someone else’s negligence or carelessness put your safety in jeopardy, causing an auto accident due to no fault of your own. The lawyers at Plaxen & Adler, P.A. advocate for clients in Maryland who have been hurt by defective auto parts or affected by auto recalls. We can help.
Common defective auto part issues
Defects in vehicles usually occur in either the design stage or in the manufacturing stage. Design defects mean that there is an inherent problem with the part itself. The design of the part makes it unsafe and unable to operate in the manner it was intended, and could cause harm to the user. Manufacturing defects mean that the part was likely designed correctly, but an error in manufacturing caused it to be unsafe. This could mean human error, poor quality control, or improper materials used to fabricate the part.
Common defective parts include:
- Airbags. Defective airbags can literally mean the difference between life and death. If an airbag fails to deploy, or deploys too soon or too late, it may not provide proper protection in a collision. Passengers can suffer serious or fatal injury. Parts supplier Takata recently found themselves in the news with a massive recall due to defective airbags.
- Ignition switch. GM recalled millions of vehicles in 2014 for faulty ignition switches that turned off while vehicles were driving. This caused drivers to lose control of their vehicles and, because the vehicle was not running, airbags were unable to deploy in the event of an accident.
- Tires. When tires are manufactured incorrectly, they are at risk for blowouts or other malfunctions, putting the vehicle’s driver and other drivers on the road in harm’s way.
- Seat belt. Seat belts are one of your last lines of defense in the event of an accident, and are supposed to hold you and your passengers securely in place. If a latch fails or they become loose, an occupant could be ejected from the vehicle, resulting in deadly injury.
- Steering. If a steering system fails, a driver can no longer maintain direction of the vehicle. Some defects may cause a steering wheel to lock, making it impossible to steer or maintain control of the car.
- Brakes. When brakes fail, catastrophic accidents can occur. Even if a driver is able to slow down, rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, and other crashes can cause serious injury and damage.
What do I do if my vehicle is recalled?
In 2016, automakers recalled a record 53.2 million vehicles, as the United States also saw a surge in traffic deaths. An auto recall happens when an auto manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines a vehicle model has a safety-related defect or doesn’t meet federal safety standards. The automaker alerts vehicle owners and usually offers a free repair.
Companies are required to notify vehicle owners via letter, but you can also stay current on any safety issues and vehicle recalls on the NHTSA website any time by simply entering your VIN (located on the lower left of your windshield or on your registration card).
Your recall letter should include the following information:
- A description of the defect or safety issue
- The hazard or risk posed by the defect
- Warning signs or symptom of the problem
- How the manufacturer will fix it
- Instructions on what you should do next
- Note that if you have a tire recall, you must get it repaired within 60 days of notification
Recent and notable auto recalls
2016 and 2017 saw a great deal of car and truck recalls and settlements.
The Takata airbag scandal was a huge story, dominating most of the news. The largest in automotive history, currently the recall has impacted 37 million vehicles and caused 15 fatalities. Some of the airbags manufactured by Takata have a defect that, when deployed, cause them to explode with force and rupture the inflator housing, spraying shrapnel inside the vehicle.
Ford Motor Co. recalled 1.3 million 2015-17 pickups for faulty door latches. Water could leak into the latch mechanism, causing it to freeze and appear closed when it was actually still open. Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep also recalled 1.3 million vehicles for defective driver side airbags on select vehicles, and a fire risk from the alternator on the other vehicles. Hyundai and Kia recalled 1.5 million of their vehicles for a stalling risk due to an engine defect. Over one million Honda Accords were recalled for a fire risk due to a faulty battery sensor.
Auto manufacturers have a responsibility to produce safe vehicles for consumers. If they fail in that endeavor, they should be held liable for their negligence. If you purchased a car with a defect that caused you loss or injury, it’s time to speak to a skilled Maryland defective product attorney.
Providing skilled counsel for the people of Maryland for more than 30 years
At Plaxen & Adler, P.A., we are well-versed in defective product and product liability law. We are also experienced in class action lawsuits. We’ll investigate what caused your injuries and find out who or what was responsible. To learn more, or to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Maryland injury lawyer, please call 410-988-4449 or fill out our contact form.