New advancements in technology and engineering have drastically altered the car buying experience. One of the most common features on every new car buyer’s mind is safety. Despite the unpredictability of some auto accidents, it almost goes without saying that no one would ever expect the features designed to keep you safe could actually be responsible for turning a minor accident into a major tragedy.
With so many innovative features to choose from today, who would think that you need to be concerned about something as simple as an automobile airbag deploying properly? However, for 3.2 million Nissan models recalled in the past year, just the opposite is true. And generally speaking, auto defects are unfortunately more common than you may think. Far too often, these deficiencies only come to light after it’s too late.
Strike three in the Nissan airbag auto recall
This year, Nissan issued its third recall for defects in their airbag sensors since 2013. The cause of the recall for various 2013-2017 models was due to a defective front seat occupancy-classification sensor (OCS), which is responsible for determining whether the occupant of the passenger seat is a child or small adult, in order to disable the airbag and keep it from deploying. “Unusual seating postures” and engine vibration were initially blamed for the system’s inability to recognize seated passengers, but even after an OCS software update, vehicle owners still noticed the passenger airbag would display as deactivated when grown adults were seated.
More than 3,200 complaints and warranty claims for the failed sensors caused The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open investigations on twelve different models, revealing that nearly 3.2 million cars were affected—including those previously recalled for the same issue. Automobile recalls aren’t always preemptive, but instead are reactionary measures after a serious accident has already occurred.
What’s worse is that too often the resulting injury or death of a driver or passenger is due to a fully cognizant decision by the automobile manufacturer to use a flawed design or product as part of a vehicle’s engineering. Some factors responsible for an automobile accident may be impossible to foresee, but that doesn’t mean that victims of catastrophic injury or death caused by defects aren’t entitled to the necessary care and support required for the rest of their lives.
A fate undeserved: tragedy that could have been prevented
In 2010, one Pennsylvania man became quadriplegic after his 1999 Acura Integra flipped, and his seatbelt failed to prevent his head from striking the roof. This landmark case was handled and tried to a jury by trial attorneys Stewart J. Eisenberg and Daniel J. Sherry Jr., of the Philadelphia catastrophic personal injury law firm Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. They presented evidence that the accident was caused by an auto design defect, as well as the Honda Motor Company’s failure to use a safer alternative.
Honda denied any faults in their seatbelt design, but attorneys Eisenberg and Sherry were able to uncover that Honda was aware, for more than a decade, of the seatbelt’s inability to prevent a driver from striking his or her head on the roof. The information had been revealed in a 1992 rollover test. Honda attempted no additional testing to resolve the issue, and failed to provide adequate warnings to consumers.
After a nine-day trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court of, a jury unanimously reached a verdict that awarded the accident victim $55.3 million to assist with future care expenses, loss of earnings and the pain and suffering that resulted from the vehicle defects. It was the largest recorded verdict for an auto defect case in Pennsylvania history.
Finding recourse after catastrophe
No one expects that the automobile they drive is poorly designed or carelessly manufactured, nor would they likely know when a defect is to blame in an accident. It takes experienced and knowledgeable attorneys such as those at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. who will fight to protect your interests and secure your future. Our attorneys work closely with experts in automobile design, , accident reconstruction, biomechanical engineering, and more, so we know what to look for and how to investigate all aspects of a crash.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident due to an automobile defect, contact the attorneys at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler Eisenberg & Jeck, PC today for a free consultation.