Lawsuit Claims GM Failed in Safety Goals

A lawsuit filed August 25 on behalf of Timothy Daniels claims that GM manufactured a vehicle that did not meet crashworthiness standards for occupant protection. Stephanie Willis, acting as legal heir to Daniels’ estate, also alleges that the defective vehicle was responsible for Daniels’ death.

The accident took place January 8 in Smith County, Texas. Daniels was driving a 2003 Chevrolet 1500 pickup when he veered off the road, hitting several trees. Daniels sustained fatal injuries, even though he was wearing a seat belt.

The lawsuit alleges that the Chevrolet truck was defective due to poor reinforcement of the front and side structure, inadequate engineering analysis and missing structural parts and designs used by other automakers.

The lawsuit also claims the vehicle defied federal crashworthiness standards because the energy from the crash wasn’t evenly distributed and the vehicle’s survival space was destroyed on impact. The allegations also include inadequate crash testing and violation of the crashworthiness standards for occupant protection.

Common Defects in Motor Vehicles

When people are injured or killed in an auto accident, they often overlook violations of the federal
crashworthiness standards when looking for the cause of the accident. If a vehicle fails to meet these standards, it is considered defective and could have caused harm to passengers. It’s important to understand the possible defects and their results.

If a vehicle’s airbags malfunction, they could fail to deploy in a crash or deploy spontaneously and cause serious injury or death. Seat belts can be defective and can come unlatched or break in a crash, greatly increasing risk of injury. A defective door latch could open and toss a passenger out of the vehicle during a crash.

Sport utility vehicles and vans must meet standards regarding a low level of gravity to avoid rollover accidents. Defective gas tank placement could cause a fire or explosion after or during an accident.

The U.S. Code for Motor Vehicle Safety defines
vehicle safety as the performance of a vehicle “that protects the public against unreasonable risks of accidents occurring because of the design, construction or performance [ of a vehicle ] and unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident.”

If you have been involved in an auto accident and suspect that a defective vehicle is at fault, contact an attorney with experience in auto accident defect litigation.