The American Association for Justice has launched a campaign and released a report called Driven to Safety about how the civil justice system has been the driving force for a half-century in automobile improvements that have protected consumers. We at the Terrell • Hogan personal injury and wrongful death law firm applaud the American Association for Justice and our fellow members for standing up for the driving public. For decades, automobile makers have too often claimed ignorance of defects in their vehicles, and only after investigation and legal actions by civil justice attorneys have their claims been found untrue.
Those same lawyers have fought for consumer protection from the car and truck manufacturers that put their profit ahead of the safety of the people who buy and ride in their defective products. The report makes clear that lawsuits against the auto industry are how car makers have been held accountable and forced to make their products safer.
A few examples:
Tires: American consumers have seen this movie before, but it too-often required many wrecks and personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits by trial lawyers for victims to get the attention of the tire manufacturers and, at times, automobile manufacturers. Examples include the tragedies surrounding Firestone 500s in the 1970s and various Firestone tires that were involved with Ford Explorer rollovers in the 1990s. Firestone has not been alone in having tires with defects. In 2008, a deadly rollover auto crash in Florida prompted a federal investigation and recall of 6 million tire valve stems.
Air Bags: Air Bags are a great safety invention – that is, if they work the way they are supposed to. However, recalls of vehicles for defective airbags are on the rise. Vehicles are being recalled for everything from shrapnel blasting out of the airbags, to catching fire, to airbags unexpectedly inflating, to failing to deploy.
Accelerator Pedals: Toyota recalled millions of vehicles due to defects that caused some vehicles to uncontrollably accelerate. The defect caused injuries and deaths. Toyota agreed to pay $1.2 billion because they intentionally concealed information and misled investigators and consumers about the problem.
Ignition Switches GM is recalling millions of cars for defective ignition switches; the injuries and deaths are still being counted.
Here, at the Terrell • Hogan personal injury and wrongful death law firm, helping families recover from accidents and personal injury is what we do every day, but we want to help find ways to prevent injuries and deaths. So, until there’s a solution, Terrell • Hogan will continue to repeat the news of recalls of defective and dangerous products.
What to do if you are in an auto accident
*Wayne Hogan is president of the Terrell • Hogan personal injury and wrongful death law firm. He has been appointed three times to the executive committee of the American Association for Justice by presidents of the association, and was the 2012 recipient of the association’s Harry M. Philo Award, named for one of the most highly respected products liability lawyers, experts and educators ever to have practiced civil justice law in the United States, and “presented annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the safety and protection of American consumers and our civil justice system.”