Cars with defective parts can affect thousands, even millions, of drivers, and the problems can have deadly consequences. Currently, the most publicized case is the Takata airbag recall. Defective airbag accelerators have resulted in a dozen deaths, hundreds of injuries, and a massive recall affecting 19 different automakers.
Takata isn’t the only subject of a recall or of lawsuits over a defective automotive product. Below is more information about the top five current or recent automotive recalls affecting U.S. drivers. If you own a car that has been the subject of a recall due to a defective part, talk with an attorney who specializes in automotive product liability cases.
1. Takata Air Bag Recall
The airbag manufacturer Takata filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. and Japan earlier this year. Problems with the company’s airbag inflators have resulted in at least a dozen deaths in the U.S. after air bags exploded and sent sharp pieces of metal flying into the vehicle and its occupants. More than 42 million cars are affected.
Most of the deaths have been in Honda vehicles. In July 2017, Honda confirmed the 11th death in a Honda vehicle in the U.S. It happened in 2016 — not in a crash, but when a car owner was using a hammer inside the car with the ignition switch turned on and the airbag was triggered. The 13th death also involved a Honda, due to the exploding inflator during a car accident.
The company pleaded guilty in February and agreed to pay $1 billion in a federal criminal investigation into the defective airbags, which claimed the problems with the airbags were known to the company long before the recalls. New lawsuits have been filed against individual automakers claiming they also knew of the defective airbags and continued to use them anyway.
2. Nissan Brake Defect Class Action Lawsuits
In a trial currently underway in California, Nissan North America is being sued for $231 million for a fatal accident that killed three people. A woman and her two young daughters were killed when an elderly driver slammed into her minivan. The woman’s family claims the brakes in the 2004 Infiniti QX56 that hit the minivan were defective, and that Nissan knew about a software component of the brakes that could fail and make it impossible to stop the vehicle but did not warn the public or issue a recall.
It is not the first time Nissan has been sued over similar allegations of faulty brakes. A 2011 class-action lawsuit alleged Nissan sold trucks and SUVs with brake failures caused by a defective sensor in the electrical system. Nissan settled the lawsuit in 2014 by agreeing to reimburse affected owners of Nissan Titan, Armada, and Infiniti QX56 vehicles up to $800 to help with paying for repairs. The settlement did not affect lawsuits concerning injuries due to the brake defect.
3. Honda Engine Compartment Fires
Honda has recalled 1.15 million Accords in the U.S. because of the danger of fires from electrical shorts, as well as about 1 million more cars outside the U.S. The cars being recalled are 2013-2016 Accords. The cars’ battery sensors can allow water to enter and cause electrical shorts, which has caused at least four engine compartment fires.
The problems are happening when water mixed with road salt enters the battery sensors because they are not sealed well enough to protect against moisture, therefore creating corrosion.
4. Ford Transmission Lawsuit Settlement
A lawsuit against Ford was filed in April by 7,000 car owners over defective PowerShift transmissions. The lawsuit alleges that 2012-2016 Focus and 2011-2016 Fiesta cars have faulty dual-clutch transmissions that are prone to shuddering, jerking, and hesitation while changing gears, among other things, and compromising the safety of the cars.
According to Automotive News, Ford issued numerous technical service bulletins to dealers regarding the transmissions and extended the powertrain warranty of the cars, but has been unable to reliably repair the transmission. A Los Angeles law firm filed three lawsuits related to the transmissions. The lawsuits were settled this spring.
5. Toyota Lawsuit Settlement
Toyota agreed in 2014 to pay a $1.2 billion settlement following hundreds of lawsuits and a criminal investigation concerning unintended acceleration in its vehicles. It was the largest criminal penalty imposed on a car company in U.S. history, according to The Washington Post.
Toyota was investigated by the Justice Department, which alleged the company misled regulators and consumers about the problem. Toyota issued recalls for more than 10 million cars beginning in 2009 and paid fines of more than $66 million for delays in reporting the unintended acceleration problems, said the New York Post.
Get Legal Help with Car Recalls
If you’ve been injured by a faulty car part, you have rights. Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz has years of experience fighting for victims in product liability, personal injury, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation cases, and more.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.