Keeping consumers safe should be the responsibility of product manufacturers and regulations and this works well most of the time. When the system fails people call personal injury specialists to level the field. As we have seen lately with Lexus, Nissan, Toyota, Chrysler and General Motors to name just a few, when companies ignore safety people are put at risk and are even killed.
Earlier this year GM recalled over 2.6 million cars that were built with defective ignition switches that were known to fail and cause power steering, power brakes and airbags to become disabled. At least 14 people were killed as a result. GM has now admitted knowing about the defect for 10 years and failing to take action to correct the problem. Repairing this defect could have potentially saved lives.
Toyota had a similar situation with unexpected acceleration. Toyota blamed the problem on floor mats and pedal design issues and it was only after a class action personal injury lawsuit was filed in conjunction with criminal charges by the US Justice Department that anything substantive was finally done. Plaintiff attorneys and engineering experts were able to prove the presence of an electronic glitch in a case in Oklahoma while the jury rejected Toyotas driver error defense. $3 million dollars was awarded in compensatory damages to the family involved. After this verdict Toyota quickly launched a campaign to quietly settle similar cases nationwide before they went to trial. This happened because of diligent personal injury attorneys doing their job and uncovering the truth.
In a perfect world every company would step up and do their job and society would be better off. Even Johns Hopkins School of Public Health concluded that while litigation is “not a perfect tool for product related injury prevention” it can produce ‘critically important intervention’ against unsafe products “particularly where product regulation is absent or has failed to achieve an adequate level of safety”. It further urged safety advocates to “consider litigation” as a viable option in their efforts to curb product hazards and the injuries these products cause.
At the Law Office of Guenard & Bozarth we see our role as representing the consumer when they are injured as a result of the actions or failure to act on the part of another. Both the GM and Toyota cases are examples of failure to act. If you or a loved one has been injured it is critical that you contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after the injury. You can talk with an attorney 24/7/365 by calling 888-809-1075 or by visiting We Can Help!