Massive Airbag Recall Affects Most Japanese Auto Makers
A massive recall announced at the beginning of April has been attributed to a Japanese seatbelt and airbag system manufacturing company that is blaming a component in an airbag currently installed in millions of cars throughout the world. This recall includes some 3.9 million vehicles and involves some of the most well-known Japanese automakers including Honda, Toyota, Mazda, and Nissan.
It has been confirmed by Toyota that the faulty airbags were manufactured by Takata Corporation, a Tokyo based seat belt and air bag supplier. The defect is known to be in the air bag inflator in the front passenger air bag. The faulty inflators are causing the air bags to erupt with too much pressure. This defect presents a risk of abnormal deployment of the airbag should an accident occur, and this abnormal deployment carries a risk of injury to the passenger.
What Is The Consumer Expectation Test?
When consumers purchase a product, they expect to hand over their money in exchange for a safe, working item that functions as advertised. Unfortunately, as any product liability lawyer can confirm, that isn’t always the case. Some products can be defective when manufactured, resulting in a failure of the product and sometimes injury to the consumer. In order to gauge defective products that result in legal disputes, product liability lawyers use a consumer expectation test.
This test is used for two purposes. First, to determine if a product was defective at the time of manufacture, and two, to determine whether or not the warning included with the product was sufficient.
Seek Legal Advice Early for a Defective Product Injury
Consumers are injured by defective products every day. While these events are unfortunate, they’re often made even worse when the injured party does not notify the manufacturer of the defect in a timely manner. This not only jeopardizes the validity of any claim you may have against the manufacturer and other responsible parties, but it has the additional downside of allowing the unreported defect to potentially injure other unsuspecting individuals. This is why it is critical that a defective product be brought to the attention of the manufacturer as quickly as possible.
A product liability action may be brought against a product manufacturer and/or reseller for a number of reasons. They can include, but are not limited to, the following:
An Antiquated System in Need of an Update
When you’re injured in an accident for which someone else is at fault, you have the right to try to recover the medical costs associated with that accident. But how much are you entitled to recover? In 1975, there were guidelines included as part of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). These guidelines were used to establish limits on the amount that could be recovered in a personal injury claim. While these limits were initially intended to reduce the costs of malpractice insurance being incurred by hospitals and doctors, it has grown into an economic threat for accident victims.
The problem? Inflation. When claim limits were capped back in 1975 at $250,000, the value of these claims were considered to be sufficient for the times. But in today’s economy, where the value of $250,000 has dwindled to the 1975 equivalent of only $75,000, these limits are no longer adequate to cover medical expenses for many serious injuries. As health care costs continue to rise at an astronomical rate, this will continue to put an even more severe economic burden on accident victims.
How Long Will It Take to Process My Claim?
A personal injury claim, like any other lawsuit, has a specific timeline and guidelines that must be adhered to throughout the process. Since each personal injury case is different, and the guidelines also differ from state to state, it’s important to know exactly what is required of you and the steps that have to be completed so that you don’t inadvertently endanger your case.
While it’s possible for a personal injury case to be settled before it goes to court, this is not always the case. Once the court system becomes involved, a claim can take months, or even years, to be completely resolved. The more complicated your case is, the stronger the likelihood it will take longer to resolve. You should always be prepared for this possibility.
What Can I Do With My Settlement Award?
You and your attorney have worked hard for this day to come. Now, all of your hard work and patience have finally paid off. You’ve either won your court case or you’ve reached a settlement. It’s finally all over, right? Not quite. Just because the court decided in your favor doesn’t mean that the judge hands you a check and you pack for Vegas.
Winning a settlement isn’t usually the end of the process. Even though a settlement has been awarded, there are often still obligations that have to be met. There are several steps that have to be taken to ensure that everyone involved in the case, that is entitled to compensation, receives it.
What Constitutes Product Liability?
Sometimes the products we use every day to make our lives easier can end up making them much more complicated. Each year, countless individuals are injured, or even killed, as a direct result of a faulty or improperly used product. When this happens, there can be a certain degree responsibility that is attributable to the product, its makers, or their agents. Any person or entity in the chain from manufacturer to retailer can potentially be held liable, depending on the circumstances of your injury and their part in the process.
Product liability differs from normal personal injury in that a product is responsible for injury or death rather than an individual or entity. How, or if, you can recover damages is another way that the two differ. A product liability action may arise in one of several ways. The liability can be a result of a defect in design or manufacturing of a consumer product, or faulty delivery of a consumer service. Or, liability might arise as the result of a safety issue that was discovered but not brought to the attention of consumers. In either instance, certain factors have to be present in order for the claim to be legitimate.
Dealing With a Wrongful Death in California
A wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligence or reckless act of another individual or entity. California wrongful death can be attributed to a person, a company, or a product. The wrongful death charge is not only material to the individual who lost his or her life, but also to anyone who relied on that individual for support, or who would stand to inherit property or belongings as a result of the individual’s passing.
Some people confuse wrongful death with medical malpractice, or even murder. The main difference between them is that wrongful death is determined through a civil suit while murder must be determined through a criminal proceeding. Wrongful death is more about damages while malpractice is focused negligence. You can, however, have medical malpractice without a wrongful death, and vice versa.
Part Two of a Two-Part Series
You might reasonably ask yourself, “Why should I hire a personal injury attorney?” There are a lot of good reasons, but for one – insurance companies love to see plaintiffs who are not legally represented. This means that, not only can they utilize their own expert legal staff against you, but they can drag out the proceedings to the point that you may well settle out of court simply in sheer desperation.
If you are forced to hold out long enough, you may have to take whatever they offer just to recover something, and get on with your life. But you should also know that an insurance company is under no obligation to settle with you.
Another reason why you should never represent yourself is the complexity of the process. You will be required to answer every request for information and documents and you must be able to do so in a timely manner. Insurance companies are well-versed in the law. You’re not. They know this, and they use it to their advantage.
Part One of a Two-Part Series
Being injured is never something to take lightly. Even if you are minding your own business, your life can be permanently changed in an instant. You would like to think that the party responsible for your injury would be willing to make things right, but sadly, you’ll find that most of the time you would be wrong.
If you’re injured by an individual, as in an auto accident, he will turn the matter over to his insurance company to handle. If your injury is the result of an error or carelessness on the part of a company, corporation, or other public or private entity, they will not only have an insurance carrier on their side, but may also employ legal counsel whose mission will be to diminish or deny responsibility altogether, and find legal grounds on which to contest your claim.
In this two-part series you will learn:
- What constitutes personal injury
- After your injury – what to do and what not to do
- Why you should hire a personal injury attorney
- Finding the right attorney
- What you may be entitled to recover