Wrongful Death Due to Vehicle Defect

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December 23, 2014
Edward Smith

car accident

Wrongful death claims may be associated with a vehicle defect.  Wrongful death claims associated with vehicle defects can include the following types of scenarios: brake malfunction, seatback failure, seats that break upon impact, Roof collapse and intrusion,  tire tread failure, and fuel system leakage.   Some cars, especially SUVs, have been associated with defective construction that results in an unusual amount of vehicle rollovers.  Wrongful death claims can also exist when a safety device installed in the car, such as an airbag or seat belt, either causes injury or fails to work properly.

Below are some examples of vehicle defects or manufacturing defect designs that resulted in trials due to the wrongful death of individuals.

Mraz v. Daimler and Chrysler: This wrongful death suit resulted in a $54 million verdict against Chrysler due to one of their vehicles has a known transmission defect. The Chrysler vehicle had been put in ‘park’  but would suddenly reverse due to the transmission defect.  This particular case resulted in the death of a dockworker who was the father of several small children.

Guillot vs. Chrysler: This wrongful death claim resulted in a $7.2 million verdict against Chrysler due to the transmission defect.  In this wrongful death suit, an infant was killed, when the parked vehicle slid into reverse.

Mundy vs. Ford Motor Company and Legacy Ford Mercury, Inc.: This injury claim resulted in a $44 million verdict. The claim was the result of a parked Ford vehicle that reversed after the driver exited. This was attributed to a faulty transmission.  The driver attempted to stop the vehicle only to be rolled over. The vehicle ultimately caused injuries resulting in the driver being parallelized.

J. Smith and J. Smith vs. Kent H.; Grand Auto Stores, Inc.; TBC Corporation; and Denman Tire Corporation:
This lawsuit resulting in a $10.8 million verdict included a personal injury claim to the mother and a wrongful death claim on behalf of her child. The vehicle had over-sized tires and over-inflated tires installed which resulted in a blow out leading to the injury and death of mother and child.

There are many pending trials due to wrongful death claims that were the result of a vehicle design defect or defective parts.

In 2014, General Motors (GM) has been named as a defendant due to numerous wrongful death lawsuits relating to issues involving the ignition switch.  It has been alleged that many GM vehicles lose power to their vehicle due to faulty ignition switches. This results in complete power loss to the automobile. This sudden loss of power has meant many drivers are unable to control the engine, braking, and steering of the vehicle.  It is believed that this defect may have caused 19 wrongful deaths.

There is also pending wrongful death lawsuits filed against Honda Motor Company in 2014.  In one of the pending wrongful death suits filed against Honda it is alleged that upon the deployment of the vehicle’s airbag, the air-bag released a type of ‘shrapnel’ that caused stab like wounds to the chest resulting in death. 

One of the developments of this pending lawsuit is a massive recall of Takata airbags.  The recall of Takata airbags includes vehicles made by Ford, Chrysler, BMW, GM, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.

The Edward A Smith Law Offices would like to remind consumers to please check vehicle manufacturer websites and verify whether your car has been recalled or if it has any known defective parts. Many manufacturers will allow for vehicles with known defective parts to be taken to dealerships for free removal of any recalled or defective part and the installation of a new non-defective part.  There are websites that gather and publish information dedicated to safety which allows one to enter their vehicle VIN to obtain this information.

If you believe your injury or the wrongful death of a loved one is the result of a vehicle defect or poor manufacture design, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.  The Edward A Smith Law Offices would be happy to provide a no-obligation consultation for free where you can discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Please learn more about the Edward A Smith Law Offices by going to our website, www.AutoAccident.com.  We specialize in product liability claims and wrongful death claims.  We encourage you to get to know what our past clients are saying about their experience with the Edward A Smith Law Offices on Yelp, Google, and Avvo.  You can contact our office through our website or by calling us directly at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.