Last year, California saw its first lawsuit related to an airbag death in the state’s history.
When Jewel Brangman rented a 2001 Honda in Southern California just over a year ago, she likely understood the dangers of driving on the road but it is doubtful she considered the problems lurking in a dangerously designed airbag system that ultimately should have protected her. Ultimately, it killed her.
Her dad, filed the lawsuit against not only the rental car company, but also the airbag manufacturer and the automaker. In addition to the products liability issue pertaining to the airbag and the automaker, the rental car company failed to acknowledge a recall for the Honda that was issued in July of 2009.
Recently, Fiat Chrysler issued a recalling for over 1.9 million vehicles for an airbag defect, stating that the rather than the issue above, wherein the airbag deployed too forcefully, the recalled cars in this situation are not deploying the airbags at all. Not only are the airbags failing to properly activate, but the seatbelts in the cars are not locking in the event of sudden stops or accidents. This certainly creates a dangerous situation because passengers are not properly secured in the event of an accident and the airbag is not providing them with a protective buffer.
Airbag Recalls are Not Uncommon: Do Not Drive a Recalled Vehicle
In early 2016, reports indicated that at least 10 people had been killed, and 100 people injured by the airbags that were manufactured by the same company responsible for the death of Jewel Brangman in 2015.
Additionally, three deaths and five injuries have been attributed to the Fiat Chrysler recall. Unfortunately, recalls made due to airbags are not uncommon and although once the auto manufacturer realizes the issue, they can put the general public on notice that conditions may be unsafe, but what happens before they give that notice?
If you are injured because of a faulty component of your vehicle then you may have a products liability claim against the manufacturer, the seller or distributor of the car and maybe others.
If this injury occurred prior to a recall, then your claim can be quite strong but what happens if your injury happened after the a recall was issued? Is your claim barred? Just because notice of a defect was given does not necessarily mean that you are aware or even that you should be aware of the unsafe conditions and the bottom line is now you are injured and not only are you likely struggling emotionally, but financially as well. Auto accidents can cause serious injuries and we discuss what your claim may be worth here, for the auto accident alone.
How does a Recall Affect a your Product Injury Claim?
If you have been injured by a defective product after a recall was issued, either by the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the manufacturer, then you still may have a claim if the notice was too broad or not issued appropriately.
The components of a product liability claim are fairly straightforward on their face. Theories of liability include:
- Manufacturing Defects
- Design Defects
- Failure to Warn
In addition to these theories, in most circumstances the plaintiff will need to prove that a product was unreasonably dangerous, that they or a loved one suffered an actual injury and that the unreasonably dangerous product did in fact cause the injury. In addition these elements, in many states, a plaintiff will also need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent in causing the defect. California product liability cases are a little different, though, and that is good news for the victims of a dangerously designed product.
Under California law, strict liability rules apply. This means that the plaintiff does not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent and you will only need to demonstrate that the product was defective and that the defect caused your injury.
It is important to note, however, than in a products liability case, you may sue several different defendants and the strict liability rule will not apply to everyone. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney will ensure that you are not only claiming damages against the right people or entities, but that you are also asserting the appropriate legal theories and laws.
Have You Been Injured by a Defective Product in Southern California?
In the state of California, you only have a certain amount of time to bring a lawsuit against someone before you lose the right to claim damages against them. For a cause of action based on negligence, you only have two years from the date of the injury or the date that the injury was discovered.
It is important to know that if you should have already known about the injury, then the clock will begin ticking at the time you should have known about the injury. Accordingly, if a faulty airbag causes you severe injury, then the countdown begins right away. It is important that you contact an attorney as soon as you realize you were injured. Further, it is vital that you do not negotiate with the other party until you have retained legal counsel.
Most people do not want to be ensnarled in legal battles but unfortunately, bringing a lawsuit is oftentimes the only way for an injured person to recoup damages they have incurred as a result of another’s negligence, wrongful acts or manufacturing flaws.
If you are injured due to a defective airbag or any other manufacturing defect, then call San Diego’s Injury Trial Lawyers, APC right away. We have over 35 years of experience bringing plaintiffs the justice they deserve in personal injury lawsuits, including car accident cases and wrongful death cases, among other areas.
We know that when you are dealing with costly injuries, the last thing you feel like doing is getting involved in complex litigation, but rest assured that we will be your advocate aggressively handle the case for you. Please contact us today for an initial consultation at no cost to you.