Defective Car Parts Lawyer
A properly maintained car, when driven responsibly, shouldn’t pose any serious risk to its occupants or to other drivers. But defective car parts sometimes cause serious and deadly crashes, and in some instances, manufacturers know of these defects but fail to warn consumers.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a car crash and believe defective parts or malfunctioning systems were to blame, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Evans/Reilley Law Firm today to request a free consultation: 1-855-414-1012.
Automakers are rolling out new technology for vehicles every year, and some of those innovations – like back-up cameras – help drivers stay safe. But manufacturers must ensure that new technologies are tested thoroughly before introducing them to the consumer market.
In 2015, Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles after researchers exploited a security weakness in dashboard computers. Hackers were able to remotely hack into a Jeep’s dashboard computer while it was in motion and take control of its steering, brakes, and transmission. No injuries or accidents were associated with that recall, but it does illustrate the dangers of failing to test computerized features.
Takata Air Bag Dangers
In May 2016, the Evans/Reilley Law Firm wrote about defective Takata airbag inflators that could cause air bags to deploy explosively and release metal shrapnel inside vehicles. By March 2017, the faulty inflators had killed 11 people in the United States and injured about 180 people. The initial Honda recall of these airbags has been expanded repeatedly in the past few years, with other manufacturers issuing their own recalls.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration fined Takata $200 million for failing to take timely action in recalling its faulty airbags. In early 2017, Takata pleaded guilty to deceiving car manufacturers about its airbags and agreed to an additional civil fine of $1 billion.
The Duty to Inform
Large-scale recalls get plenty of media coverage, especially when the NHTSA finds manufacturers deliberately deceived customers. But fraud and deception also occur on a much smaller scale that may be underreported in the media. Irresponsible mechanics and unscrupulous dealerships sometimes let their customers drive home in cars that have defective parts.
The Federal Trade Commission allows used car dealers to sell cars that have unrepaired recall-related defects, as long as dealers inform buyers about the recall. But a group of consumer protection agencies sued the FTC in February, saying that it is putting drivers at risk by allowing dealers to sell cars labeled as “safe” and “certified” when they have unrepaired defects.
The FTC offers stronger protections for people renting cars. As of June 2016, rental car companies with a fleet of more than 35 vehicles must repair recall-related defects before renting those cars to customers.
Car Repair Scams
In 2016, the New York Post reported that a New York resident who owned repair shops there, and in Florida, Michigan, and Texas, had defrauded the United States Postal Service in an elaborate vehicle repair scam. The man allegedly billed the postal service nearly $30 million in 2012 for postal truck repairs that were either unnecessary or that were necessary but were never completed.
Texas state law forbids mechanics and car repair shops from representing car parts as new when those parts are used or refurbished. Yet, in an effort to make a bigger profit, some repair shops do misrepresent the age and quality of replacement parts, which could put customers at risk of a vehicle breakdown or crash. One auto shop owner in Cedar Park went so far as to paint old tires black and tell customers those tires were new.
Determining the Cause of a Crash
In a vehicle crash, there are usually several underlying causes. When investigators determine that some type of vehicle malfunction occurred, one or more parties may be to blame for that defect – the manufacturer, a third-party parts supplier, or a mechanic, for example.