Cars and other motor vehicles have many different parts that may malfunction and cause accidents. Some defective auto parts that commonly cause accidents may include brake systems, wheels and tires, steering columns, fuel tanks, air bags, and more. Victims of accidents caused by malfunctioning vehicles can recover for their injuries and other losses by filing a product liability claim in court.
If an automotive manufacturer discovers that a car part may be defective and therefore dangerous, that company has a duty to report the defect to the proper federal agency and to issue a timely recall to repair or replace the potentially defective component. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a list of all recent auto recalls and defects posted on its website. If a manufacturer fails to report or recall a defective part, that company may face an investigation and serious sanctions by NHTSA.
For example, General Motors (GM) faced a $30 million fine earlier in 2014 due to a failure to report or recall vehicles for defective ignition switches. The ignition switches in certain GM models could automatically shut the engine off while driving, which also disabled power steering, air bags, and other safety features. It was discovered that certain GM officials knew of the potential defect since 2004, but failed to issue a recall for ten years. Over the course of the past decade, hundreds of people suffered injury or damages in accidents due to the defect, and approximately 75 or more people have died. GM now faces numerous lawsuits for personal injury and wrongful death arising out of their failure to recall the defective vehicles. Such a failure was negligent, and GM may have to pay out millions more to victims and their families in addition to the sanction by NHTSA.
Car manufacturers are not the only companies that may be held responsible in court, as any company that sells a product has the duty to recall for potential defects. At the law office of Spaulding Injury Law in Atlanta, we are dedicated to holding auto manufacturers and other large companies responsible for selling defective cars and other products. If you have suffered injury due to a defective product, call (770) 744-0890 to schedule a free consultation with our car accident attorneys today.