Automakers should design cars that provide adequate protection for you and your family in the event of an accident. At The Law Offices of Tyler & Peery in San Antonio, Texas, our attorneys represent people injured by problems with a car's structural integrity or design, as well as those injured or killed by defective car parts. Since 1990, people from all over Texas have sought the advice of our experienced San Antonio car defect lawyers.
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Common Types of Auto Defects
- Structural integrity: Every vehicle sold in the United States must meet federal crashworthiness guidelines, which define the safety standards for your automobile.
- Airbag defects: Common airbag problems include failure to deploy or an airbag that spontaneously deploys.
- Rollovers: A vehicle's high center of gravity and narrow wheelbase cause rollovers. Rollovers are more common in SUVs and vans.
- Roof crush: Automakers should design roofs that protect against roof collapse and separation.
- Seatbelt defects: Seat belt spooling, lap belts, automatic belts, and latches are common types of seat belt issues.
- Door failure/latch failure: A defective door may open during a rollover or other accident, tossing the occupant out of the car.
- Fuel system fire/explosions: Faulty gas tank design and placement can cause a vehicle fire following an accident.
- Occupant ejection: An improperly designed vehicle can eject an occupant out of the car during an accident.
- Seat failure: A seat belt and child safety seat will prove useless if a seat back fails during an accident.
- Truck underride accidents: These accidents occur when a car crashes underneath the trailer of a semi. We represent people in claims against truck drivers and trucking companies.
Structural Integrity Issues
Weak government standards may cause automakers to make a defective product that has structural integrity flaws.
Some of the common structural integrity problems include:
- Roof crush: In a rollover accident, the roof may buckle or intrude into the passenger compartment of the car.
- Vehicle rollover: A poorly designed vehicle with a center of gravity that is too high may cause the vehicle to tip over easily.
- Defective glass: Glass may shatter during an accident, injuring the passengers.
- Latch and door defect: Doors may open during an accident or fail to protect occupants from outside intrusions.
- Front-end crumble zone defect: This is a situation in which a car is unable to disperse the force of a front-end accident.
- Airbag malfunction: An airbag may fail to deploy or deploy prematurely.
Automakers know how to design safer automobiles that can protect you and your family. They sometimes place profits before the safety of your family. In addition, if automakers were required to comply with stricter structural integrity standards, some structural integrity problems might be minimized.
Causes of a Roof Crush
The roof standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may be a contributing factor to the severity of injuries sustained in rollovers. Many of these vehicles meet these bare standards of occupant protection. Our firm handles countless rollover and roof cases. Our San Antonio auto defect lawyers understand how technical these cases are and how difficult it can be to establish liability.
Some of the common causes of a roof crush include:
- Roof pillars that break during a vehicle rollover
- Roofs that buckle, striking the passenger
- Intrusion of the roof into the passenger compartment
Designs that protect people against roof crush accidents could drastically reduce the number of fatalities in rollovers. Under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 216, automakers must conform to minimum design requirements. Many of these standards provide little protection to anyone driving a heavier SUV or van.
Despite a strong push from safety experts, automakers and government agencies continue to fail to adopt new structural integrity standards. If the government changed these standards, automakers would have to design safer vehicles. Your family deserves the protection that could prevent rollover accidents.
Seatbelt & Latch Defects
A seatbelt must withstand violent forces during a front-end collision or rollover. Held to strict government standards, these safety devices are critical to you and your family members' safety.
Some of the common types of seat belt defects include:
- Lap belts that can cause serious spinal and internal injuries
- Seatbelt latches unlatching during collisions
- Spooling problems causing too much slack or a failure to hold
- Automatic and door mounted seat belts leading to "submarining" or ejecting of vehicle occupants
- Airbag defects and seatbelt problems
- Seatbelts breaking free of their moorings
A defective seatbelt can lead to a variety of serious and sometimes fatal injuries like a crushed pelvis, spinal cord injury, head injury, and other serious injuries.
Causes of Occupant Ejection
A vehicle should withstand the force of a crash without jeopardizing the safety of its occupants. However, despite advances in technology, injuries are not avoidable in all cases. Improperly designed vehicles can aggravate the severity of accidents and cause an occupant ejection.
Improper designs and defective products include:
- Seat belt failure
- Door failure
- Window defect
- Roof crush defect
- Structural integrity
In cases involving occupant ejections, it is important to hire experts who are knowledgeable about automobile safety standards and causes of car crashes. We employ experts who will investigate the cause of the accident, such as the car's instability. The experts can also determine what caused the ejection of the occupant after the accident.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, people thrown from a car face a three times greater risk of death than people who remain in an automobile. Given the risk of being thrown into a tree or crushed by their vehicle, people ejected from a car face a greater risk of internal injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other fatal injuries.
Defective Seats, Including Baby & Child Car Seats
Automobile accidents are the number one killer of children under the age of 16 in the United States. Despite parents' best efforts, more and more infants and young children are killed in car wrecks each year. In some cases, this is because the car seats parents trust to keep their children safe turn out to be defective.
If your child was involved in a motor vehicle accident and was thrown from their child safety seat, your lawyer should investigate the possibility of a car seat defect. The car seat may have been subject to a recall or it may have been secretly defective without the public's knowledge.
Adults may also be at risk of serious injury if the seats in their vehicle are defective. Some examples of a seat back failure include:
- Improperly designed seat ramp design, allowing occupants to slide too far forward during a crash
- Faulty seat attachment to the floor so that the seat breaks loose during a crash
- Improperly designed seat back that breaks from the impact of the collision, causing the occupants to fly forward, or be ejected from the car
Automakers should design seats that protect children as well as adults. The effectiveness of child safety seats depends on a properly designed seat. During a seat back failure, the car seat may break away from the seat, seriously injuring the child. We can investigate the child seat and determine whether the seat performed well in crash tests.
A malfunctioning airbag can have serious repercussions for anyone involved in a serious accident. People rely on these devices to protect them in such an event.
You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries caused by an airbag malfunction such as:
- Failure to Deploy: When an airbag fails to deploy during an accident, a driver and occupant can suffer serious head and facial injuries.
- Accidental Deployment: An accidental deployment may cause drivers to lose control of their cars, causing serious injuries.
Companies that make child safety seats recognize the problems associated with airbags and child injuries. They do not design these devices to work well with airbags. Designers create airbags to protect a person of average size and weight, not a small child or adult. Children need special protection against an airbag malfunction.
Causes of a Car Fire
Over the years, automakers learned what causes automotive fires. Many times, ignoring the dangers, they continue to sell defective cars and trucks to unsuspecting consumers.
Some of the common causes of car fires that our firm has seen include:
- Poor placement of fuel tanks
- Side-saddled tanks placed outside a vehicle's frame
- Tanks placed between a car's bumper and its axel
- Defective or ineffective fuel line materials
- Improperly-designed emergency shut-off values
- Cruise control malfunctions
- Faulty gas tank designs
Defective Car Tires
Unexpected tire failure can lead to extremely serious accidents, including severe crashes and rollovers. High profile vehicles like SUVs and commercial trucks are at particular risk of a rollover if a defective tire fails. It is the responsibility of tire manufacturers to ensure that their products will withstand the demands of use by any vehicle that the tire will fit.
In recent years, many of the most recognized tire manufacturers have needed to initiate a tire recall because of a defect in the design or performance of their tires. In some cases, a weak point in the sidewall will cause the tire to blow out. In others, the tread may separate and the tire will come apart.
Most blowouts and tread separations happen very suddenly and usually at high speeds. Drivers often lose control of the vehicle which leads to serious accidents and the potential for life-changing injuries. Whether you were the driver of the vehicle with the defective tire or a victim that was caught up in the wreck, you have the right to seek damages for your injuries.
Ford Fire Recall Lawsuit
After its voluntary recall of nearly four million vehicles for an overheating cruise control switch that could cause under-hood fires, Ford Motor Company could be looking at another major recall for a separate fire hazard.
In September of 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into whether Ford should recall approximately 1.4 million Ford F150 trucks that could present a fire hazard due to the rusting of defective straps that secure the gas tank. At this point, Ford F150 trucks manufactured between 1997 and 2001 are included in the investigation.
As part of its investigation, the NHTSA noted that the straps could rust to the point where they break, resulting in dragging fuel tanks, possible explosions from the sparks igniting the leaking fuel, and the potential for the fuel cell to fall off the truck, presenting a road hazard for other motorists.
Volkswagen Fraudulent Emissions Testing Claims
Volkswagen recently admitted to using fraudulent tests to evaluate emissions from their vehicles. The company then allowed consumers to believe that the cars were up to emissions standards when they bought the vehicles. These practices were intentional and fraudulent. Consumers affected by the company's practices may be eligible for compensation and settlements in the coming months and years.
At The Law Offices of Tyler & Peery, we are prepared to represent Volkswagen vehicle owners affected by the company's deceptive practices. Our San Antonio auto defect attorneys are experienced in litigation, including product defect litigation and holding companies accountable for defrauding consumers.
Get Strong Legal Counsel
At The Law Offices of Tyler & Peery, we offer dedicated legal representation and aggressive advocacy for victims of all type of car, motorcycle, and motor vehicle defects. Our auto defect lawyers in San Antonio are prepared to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.
Contact us online or call (210) 774-6445 for a free, confidential case evaluation.