Articles Posted in Car Defects

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Serious car accidents can be caused by poor vehicle maintenance.  This includes tire problems, brake failure, and other potential hazards that can lead to dangers on the road.  Proper vehicle maintenance is vital to your safety and the safety of those around you.  Our Miami car accident lawyers have provided the following list of tips that can help to ensure your vehicle is in tip top shape before you set off on a Florida roadway.

  1. Keep your tires in shape: Tire issues are one of the top causes of car accidents and are involved in over 10,000 serious accidents annually.  To keep your tires in good working order, first check your air pressure.  Underinflated tires can lead to hydroplaning and loss of control of the vehicle.  Use a pressure gauge test to check your tire’s pressure at least once a month and be sure the pressure matches the recommendation of your vehicle manufacturer.  Have the dealership or a mechanic rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles and have them check the alignment as well, as this can lead to uneven tread wear.
  2. Change the oil and check your fluid levels: Check your oil each month and change it as directed by your owner’s manual.  You should additionally check your automatic transmission, power steering, wiper, and brake fluid.
  3. Test the lights: Test your tail lights, headlights, and turn signals while your vehicle is in park to make sure each is in working order.  A broken light can not only create hazardous driving, it could result in a ticket.
  4. Replace windshield wipers: If your wipers are old or not working well, have them immediately replaced so that you can see clearly in the event of a downpour.  This is a quick and inexpensive fix.
  5. Bring your vehicle in for regular checkups: There are many car maintenance tasks that should be down every few months or yearly by a mechanic.  This includes flushing the cooling system, replacing brake, valves, hoses, and inspecting the exhaust.
  6. Check your air filter: Pull out your air filter, if you know how to locate it, and hold it to a strong light.  If you cannot see the light through it, it should be replaced.  A clean air filter will improve your vehicle’s performance.
  7. Check core components: Those without vehicle knowledge should enlist a mechanic for this step.  Have the engine, radiator, battery cables, and the like inspected to ensure everything is in safe working order as the failure of any of these parts can lead to serious accidents.

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This blog post is Part II of a two-installment blog reviewing the dangers posed by vehicles that are exempt from the requirement of implementing vehicle defect recalls.  Many people do not realize that the requirement to ensure that safety defects are corrected on vehicles prior to making them available to consumers is limited to new vehicle sales.  Despite efforts to get defective rental cars and used cars off the road, consumers should confirm that a used car or rental can is not subject to a recall prior to purchasing or renting the vehicle.

Vehicles Exempt from Safety Recalls

Despite proposed legislation intended to close loopholes involving vehicles that are not required to fix defects, public safety remains dependent on voluntary action.  The law does not require that a rental car be repaired before it is rented to another customer following issuance of a safety recall.  Admittedly, certain rental car agencies voluntarily pull vehicles subject to recall out of circulation, but there are strong economic incentives not to take this step.  An article in Fortune magazine discussing this issue indicated that a major vehicle recall can impact one-third of a rental car company’s entire fleet of vehicles.

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With the arrival of summer, families are making vacation plans which might include getting a loaner car while you take your car in to get it serviced or making arrangements for a rental car.  While you might presume that used car dealerships and rental car agencies confirm that the cars they provide to customers are mechanically sound and comply with safety recalls, there is no factual basis for this assumption.  Although new car dealers are required to comply promptly with car defect safety recalls, this requirement of federal law does not apply to dealers that provide loaners, rental car companies, and used car dealerships.

2014 Brought a Record Number of Vehicle Safety Recall Defects

Although the loophole that exempts used cars, dealer loaners, and used cars from recalls has always posed a serious danger to the public, this risk has been magnified by the record number of recalls in 2014.  Last year, carmakers recalled a record 62,000,000 vehicles for safety defects.  The most prominent recalls that dominated the news involved faulty ignition switches and defective airbags.  General Motors (GM) recalled millions of vehicles because of a potentially deadly ignition switch defect.  The defect caused the switch to rotate into the off position while the vehicle was moving, disabling steering, brakes, and airbags.  GM ignition switch defects has claimed the lives of over a 104 people as of May 18, 2015.

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A Miami woman had to be rescued from her vehicle on Wednesday, March 4.  The accident victim became trapped inside her vehicle after a rollover accident occurred on I-95 southbound at around 7:30 a.m.  Miami Fire Rescue crews found the woman trapped in her car that had rolled over on its side.  Rescue crews were able to extricate the woman from the vehicle, and then transported her to Jackson Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Another vehicle suffered damages in the accident, but the driver was not injured.  Three express lanes on I-95 southbound were closed and three local lanes blocked as emergency crews responded to the scene.

Rollover car accidents like the one described above cause about 30% of all car accident deaths.  Our Miami car accident lawyers find those who survive a serious rollover accident are often left with severe and sometimes life threatening injuries.  Some rollover crashes are single-vehicle accidents, but even in such accidents the driver may not be responsible for the accident.  Faulty vehicle designs or defective roadways can contribute to the likelihood of a rollover crash.

The Causes of Rollover Accidents

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There are many different considerations that go into selecting a new car, whether for one person or a family.  Some recent study results may provide a little more information that can influence the ultimate purchase decision.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released a report on nine different vehicle models for the model year 2011 in which there have been no driver fatalities for the researched time period.  The results were attributable to safety features such as stability control. Considering that approximately 30,000 people are killed in vehicle-related collisions each year, the fact that there are absolutely no driver fatalities for these specific vehicles is an important statistic, but in no way guarantees that a person will be able to walk away from a crash.

Although there are safety technologies that protect vehicle occupants in the event of a crash, this does not prevent many people throughout South Florida from being injured or killed in accidents that are caused by one or more people’s negligence.  The skilled Miami car accident lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano understand the devastation that results from a car crash and will work to get accident victims the compensation that they deserve.  Our attorneys have more than 130 years of collective experience in getting results for our clients following a serious accident.

It always is a wonderful thing when victims of a serious crash do not suffer from horrific injuries.  The recent IIHS study discusses nine vehicles that have never been involved in an accident that resulted in a fatality within the vehicle, according to available records studied for the time period from 2009 through 2012 (no assertions are made with regard to driver fatalities that occurred before 2009.  Six of these vehicles are sports utility vehicles (SUVs).  Generally speaking, SUVs have the lowest fatality rates of any vehicle class.  The safety records of these vehicles are based on the protection afforded by the larger vehicle frame, as well as the regulations for stability control systems in the SUVs.  The six SUVs that were named in the recent study for no driver fatalities were the:

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The failure, or potential failure, of airbags has been featured prominently in the news over the past several months. The expansion of the most recent recall of vehicles with Takata Corporation-manufactured airbags makes the severity of the risk of harm even more clear. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded the current recall to 7.8 million vehicles. These vehicles have the potential for failure of airbag deployment during accidents. There even is the potential for an explosion of airbags following an accident. Our Miami personal injury lawyers know that both airbag deployment failures and explosions have the potential to cause serious, if not deadly, harm to the occupants of the vehicles.

When there is a failure of the airbags to deploy or there is some sort of catastrophic event involving the airbags, the resulting harm can alter the life of the victim and/or his family. The experienced and compassionate South Florida car accident attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano know the devastation that a car crash can cause for a victim and will work hard to ensure that there is justice for those harmed as a result of the negligence of a person or company. Accordingly, the personal injury attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 120 years of collective experience successfully fighting for the rights of their clients.
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Car, truck and motorcycle accidents happen so frequently in Florida that there’s an assumption that one of the drivers involved must have caused the accident. Maybe a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and barreled into a car in front of it, or maybe a motorcyclist was under the influence of alcohol when colliding with a car. While there typically is a logical explanation for the cause of a motor vehicle accident, there are instances where mechanical failure is the cause.

To understand what a mechanical defect is, the most common, basic example is when a motor vehicle’s brakes quit working. A driver is pushing the brakes, yet the car or truck simply will not stop. Another common example is when a steering mechanism fails. Your steering completely locks up and you cannot avoid hitting the vehicle in front of you.

If you have been involved in an accident and you suspect mechanical failure was the cause, then ask yourself these four questions below, as they will point you in the right direction to understanding the cause of your accident. Answering these questions will allow you to eliminate other, traditional causes of automobile accidents. However, you should always seek the advice of a Miami Car Accident Attorney to assist you with answering these questions.

Question 1 – Were you driving the speed limit?
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Airbags are the cushions between us and the crushing impact of a car’s windshield. We put our trust in our cars’ ability to deploy airbags when colliding with another motor vehicle. In today’s world, technology is so advanced that the automobile industry should have no trouble designing and manufacturing airbags without causing harm to customers. Unfortunately, airbags have been failing quite frequently in the past year. In fact, the number of defects resulting in recalls has reached a record high in 2013.

Our Miami car defect lawyers have found that car manufacturers have recalled more than 6 million cars due to defective airbags. This astounding statistic reveals that there is a serious problem with airbags not working as they are intended. The defective quality of these airbags is that they have failed to deploy during car accidents, injuring thousands and killing one driver. While it is positive that car manufacturers have recalled the vehicles in an effort to fix the problem, it is still quite frightening to realize that airbags are failing their drivers so often. It is a scary thought that your car’s airbag might not deploy as it should upon impact in a car accident. Because of the airbag failure, it is even more important to drive safely so that there’s no need for an airbag to deploy.
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