At Sette Law, our Sacramento car accident lawyers watch in amazement as GM recalls continue to mount and some responsibility is shared with federal regulators. A spotlight now falls upon the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with allegations it was aware of some GM defects years before GM issued a nationwide recall that includes owners in Sacramento. Injury lawyers are concerned that NHTSA’s vigilance fell short of reporting failures in ignition switches that failed and cut off power to airbags in some GM models. Sacramento car accident lawyers have long looked to the NHTSA for reliable information about safety on the streets and freeways of Sacramento. Now, personal injury attorneys learn that a congressional report faults the agency for not making public their findings in 2007.
This revelation comes as GM recalls in 2014 mount to 39 million, impacting drivers everywhere, including Sacramento. Car accident lawyers at Sette Law note that the NHTSA continued to investigate crashes of GM cars related to faulty ignition switches without highlighting the issue until GM itself finally went public. Our Sacramento personal injury lawyers point out that an NHTSA deputy administrator claims GM cloaked problems by not using the term “defect” in its reporting to NHTSA about the switches. Nonetheless, Sacramento car accident lawyers understand that, as a government agency, the NHTSA has the responsibility of public trust and must live up to that for car owners in Sacramento.
Car accident lawyers also note that the NHTSA had also bestowed a “five Star” crash safety rating on the Chevy Cruze which was later recalled for airbag defects. This is not the quality of service expected of the NHTSA by drivers in Sacramento.
Injury Lawyers watch Settlement Challenge
Further complicating the GM saga is a recent court decision that was decided in favor of the family of a young woman killed in the 2010 crash of her Chevy Cobalt. Sacramento injury attorneys say the family had arrived at a settlement with GM a few months before the ignition switch defect was made public and recalls were launched. The recent lawsuit sought to overturn the settlement so that the family could move forward with legal action. According to our Sacramento injury lawyers, it was the family’s accident attorneys that hired an expert engineering firm to analyze the mechanics of the Cobalt switch. They discovered the switch had been redesigned to prevent failure, substantiating the family’s claim that GM was aware of the defect leading to their daughter’s death. The court agreed and, Sacramento car accident lawyers say the family is moving forward toward a trial that could impact similar claims in Sacramento. Our injury lawyers say that GM expressed disappointment with the court ruling and claimed they had made the earlier settlement “…in good faith.”
GM Fights to Minimize Liability
Parties suffering injury and loss due to GM defects should be aware that GM mounts its own defense against liability, according to Sacramento car accident lawyers at Sette Law. For example, the company refuses to accept responsibility for the death of a back seat passenger in the 2006 crash of a Cobalt. GM injury attorneys limit their liability only to the young woman driving the vehicle because the Cobalt had front seat, not back seat, airbags. Our Sacramento personal injury attorneys believe this corporate approach is grossly unfair to both families who loss of daughters is equal, regardless of where they were seated in the deadly accident caused by the ignition switch defect.
Victims and their families, according to Sacramento personal injury attorneys, will have to be prepared for a vigorous legal battle as GM seeks to minimize its costs and responsibility.
Personal injury attorneys at Sette Law are keeping a close eye on the recent recall of Chevy Cruze vehicles with airbags made by Takata Corp., headquartered in Japan. To date, GM has recalled 33,000 Cruze vehicles made in 2013 – 2014.
The problem is not related to GM’s other massive recalls involving airbags, and our Sacramento injury lawyers point out the result of the defect is also different. According to a personal injury lawsuit filed on behalf of Brandi Owens, a car accident victim in Georgia, the Takata airbags can explode with excessive force causing grave injury to drivers or passengers. Our Sacramento car accident lawyers also point out the drivers-side airbags can “rupture” and expel metal fragments which prevent the bag from inflating. The Georgia woman lost her sight in one eye due to the defective airbag.
At Sette law, our Sacramento car accident lawyers monitor the work of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to stay current with the agency’s investigations and findings. In the Georgia case, the NHTSA probe made it clear this Takata defect is different from the massive airbag-related GM recall earlier this year that affected car owners in Sacramento.
Personal injury attorneys are challenged to follow recall actions that now involve numerous car makers from Asia and Europe to the streets of Sacramento. Personal injury attorneys observe that in June, Japanese firms such as Honda and others issued global recalls for nearly 3 million cars based on airbag problems. Our Sacramento car accident lawyers point out that, thus far, 10.5 million cars equipped with Takata airbags have been recalled worldwide. Less publicized is the precautionary recall of BMW 3 Series cars, also equipped with Takata Airbags, according to our Sacramento injury lawyers.
The circumstances of the Owens lawsuit are cause for concern for drivers in Sacramento. Car accident lawyers in our firm pay attention to vehicles with Takata airbags, regardless of the make of the car. According to police reports, Brandi Owens was at an intersection and traveling at a slow rate of speed that should not have triggered an airbag. But, the bag exploded and careened into the back seat of the Chevy Cruze.
At Sette Law, our Sacramento personal injury attorneys look beyond immediate events to the underlying causes and commonly shared circumstances of car accidents, particularly in cases such as the flurry of airbag defects that could harm drivers in Sacramento. Car accident lawyers must not only be able to advocate for victims in court but also possess a breadth of knowledge about similar cases nationwide. Our Sacramento injury lawyers develop this broad expertise so that we can help car accident victims receive fair and just compensation for their injuries.
San Jose authorities are searching for a driver in a suspected hit-and-run accident that occurred early this morning. The head-on collision killed two women. Reports indicate that the women were riding in a Toyota Yaris and had taken a left when someone driving a Mercedes sedan slammed into the front of the car. Just a few minutes earlier police had attempted to pull over the Mercedes sedan after they had seen it driving erratically. The vehicle drove rapidly through a red light, turning left onto First St., at which point the officers decided not to engage in what they said would have been a risky pursuit on city streets.
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of car accident – including head-on collisions – it is important to consult with a skilled Sacramento car accident attorney right away. A knowledgeable car collision attorney can begin an investigation into all of the factors surrounding your case and help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
The tragic deaths of the two women in this instance was compounded by the fact that the responsible driver fled the scene. Most states including California require that a driver stop as soon as is safe following an accident. California Vehicle Code Sec. 20001 provides that any driver regardless of fault must stop after an accident that involves property damage or personal injury and exchange identifying information. In the event you are not the owner of the car, you must also provide the name and address of the registered owner.
However, despite laws requiring drivers to stop, people may still flee the scene of an accident for a variety of reasons. Many times, individuals simply panic and don’t know what to do. They may be scared, but then later contact the authorities to report an accident. Other times, a hit-and-run accident may be the result of drunk driving. In these situations a driver may fear arrest and fail to stop, making the situation and potential penalties even worse. Whatever the motivation, it’s always better to stop than to flee the scene of an accident.
In this instance, the driver fled on foot. Police continue their investigation.
For more information, please contact a top Sacramento personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.