Articles Tagged with Product Liability

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the parent company of Dodge, has announced the recall of 297,000 Dodge Grand Caravan minivans in Kentucky and throughout North America. The affected minivans were part of the 2011-12 model year. They are impacted by a potential problem with the driver’s side airbag that causes it to deploy inadvertently.

The automaker reported that the issue is linked to electrical wiring inside the vehicle that can develop significant wear over time, leading to a short circuit. This could then trigger the driver’s side airbags. Unlike other recalls like the Takata airbag recall, this consumer automobile recall is related to wiring problems in older vehicles.

The wiring can cause a short circuit after rubbing against pieces of trim on the steering wheel over years of use. A second short circuit could then cause the airbag to deploy. There have been 13 minor injuries caused by these accidental airbag deployments in the Grand Caravan.

Starting in 2013, millions of Takata air bags were recalled because of safety concerns. Kentucky car owners can check whether their vehicle is on the recall list by putting their VIN number into a tool offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If the number is found to be on the recall list, the car should be taken to a dealer as soon as possible.

The car does not need to go to the dealership where it was purchased. Furthermore, the car does not need to be in warranty to have the repair made for free. Those who may have purchased the car after the recall was first issued may also want to check to see if it is still on the list. If it is, the car can still be taken to a dealer for repair.

Those who own a car that has a design defect may be putting themselves in danger each time that it is driven. If the car is under recall, it may be a good idea to take it to a dealer for repair. If it is not under recall, it may be worthwhile to talk to an attorney about possible legal remedies. It may be possible to either convince the manufacturer to conduct a recall or seek other relief.

Hyundai and Kia owners in Kentucky and across the country could soon be receiving recall notices. The manufacturers are recalling 171,348 vehicles in South Korea to replace potentially defective engine parts, and they are expected to take similar action in the United States. Reports suggest that the two companies have told American regulators that they plan to recall a yet-to-be-determined number of vehicles. Media outlets in Asia have reported that 1.3 million cars could be involved.

The South Korean recall was ordered after 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter gasoline engines began stalling. The problem was soon linked to metal debris that had been allowed to accumulate during the manufacturing process. This debris can cause overheating and stalling by restricting the flow of oil to crucial engine components. Hyundai and Kia say that the problem has now been rectified. The vehicles involved will be inspected by dealers, and mechanics will fit new engine blocks if necessary.

Financial experts say that the recalls could cost the two South Korean companies hundreds of millions of dollars even though no accidents or deaths have been linked to the engine problems. News of the South Korean recall prompted a 2.7 percent fall in the Hyundai share price, and a large recall in the United States could further shake investor confidence. Some analysts say that the reported U.S. recall will cost Hyundai as much as $220 million.

Some Ford owners in Kentucky and around the country will be receiving recall notices in the coming weeks. The Michigan-based vehicle maker is recalling more than 570,000 cars, vans and SUVs in Europe and North America to replace defective door latches and remedy coolant issues that have been linked to a rash of engine fires. In a March 29 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Ford revealed that the recalls would reduce pretax earnings by $295 million.

Coolant issues have been found on vehicles equipped with Ford’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost engines manufactured between 2010 and 2015. They include the Escape SUV, the Fiesta and Fusion sedans and the Transit Connect van. More than 360,000 of the vehicles involved were sold in North America, and they are being recalled because of overheating related to poor coolant circulation. Ford says that 29 engine fires may have been caused by hot oil escaping from cracked cylinder heads as a result. The company plans to fix the problem by having its dealers install coolant sensors and warning lights.

Issues with defective door latches have plagued Ford in recent years, prompting the recall of more than 3 million vehicles and triggering NHTSA investigations. The latest problem involves a defect that can cause doors to open while vehicles are in motion. About 211,000 Ford Fusion, Ford Fiesta and Lincoln MKZ vehicles are covered by the recall. Door latch recalls are said to have cost Ford $640 million in 2016 alone.

Kentucky readers should be aware that breast implants have been linked to a rare form of cancer that has claimed the lives of nine women, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The cancer, known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, attacks the immune system.

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or ALCL, can be found in the area of the breast implant, in the skin or in the lymph nodes. The cancer is generally non-aggressive and treatable if diagnosed in early stages. According to the FDA, breast implants are linked to a small increase in the risk of developing ALCL. The agency said it had been notified of 359 cases of possible breast cancer caused by breast implants as of Feb. 1, but it is hard to determine the total number of cases due to reporting and data issues. Most ALCL cases involved the use of breast implants with a textured surface, as opposed to implants with a smooth surface.

According to plastic surgery organizations, up to 11 million women worldwide have breast implants. Statistics indicate that fewer than 10 breast implant patients develop ALCL each year. Patients and doctors should monitor implants for symptoms such as fluid buildup, hardening, masses, swelling or redness. Mammograms and MRIs should also be routinely performed.

Parents in Kentucky and across the country may be shocked to learn that a study from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital has revealed that 66,000 infants and toddlers are treated in emergency rooms in the United States each year for injuries caused by nursery product-related accidents.

This figure indicates that a child under the age of 3 is injured by a nursery product about every 8 minutes or so, and the Ohio-based hospital’s research team came to this conclusion after scrutinizing emergency room records over a 21-year period of time between 1991 and 2011. The researchers paid particular attention to the cases of infants or toddlers who had been injured by nursery products, and they noticed that the amount of these injuries had increased by a worrying 25 percent during the last 8 years studied.

According to the NCH research, the vast majority of these injuries were caused by falls involving products like walkers, bouncers or changing tables. One of the researchers involved says that manufacturers deserve much of the blame and could improve matters considerably by making simple improvements to cribs and strollers. The study’s lead author points out that the business community responded positively in 2001 when similar research exposed vulnerabilities in baby walker designs.

As a result of a potential issue with certain airbags, Volvo is recalling approximately 5,500 vehicles. Vehicles included in the recall are 2017 S90, V90, and XC90 Cross Country cars and SUVs. Currently, Volvo is working with suppliers to determine if there are other vehicles that may be affected, so the recall may become larger after that investigation has been completed.

The issue with the vehicles being recalled is related to bolts holding inflatable curtain airbags in place. It appears that Volvo discovered the issue when repairs were being made to a courtesy handle on the top side of a car. A technician apparently discovered that one of the bolts holding the inflatable curtain in place may have been subjected to manufacturing errors that made it possible for this bolt to break or detach.

If bolts are not firmly in place, it may cause an airbag to deploy incorrectly during a crash. According to Volvo, if one of the bolts holding the airbag is bad, people may hear a noise coming from the area where the curtain airbags are. Volvo dealers will inspect and replace faulty bolts as needed to resolve the issue.

Kentucky Maserati owners should be aware that the automaker is recalling 39,381 Quattroporte, Ghibli and Levante cars and SUVs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recalls are over two potential fire risks.

Maserati says the first problem involves an incorrect wiring-harness layout under the front power seats of 2014-2017 Quattroporte, Ghibli and Levante vehicles. As the seats are adjusted, they can rub against the wiring harness, potentially causing a short-circuit and fire. Recalls for this problem are expected to begin on March 21.

The second problem involves fuel lines that can leak in certain 2014-2015 Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans. The automaker says that fuel leaks can occur at any point along the fuel line due to an assembly error by the parts supplier. Foreign particles accidentally introduced between the metal fuel line and plastic fuel line can cause scratches on the plastic portion of the line, potentially causing a fire hazard. A total of 10,879 cars are affected. The recall for this issue will begin on Feb. 28. The Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans were also recalled in 2016 over suspension and gear shift issues.

Two vehicle recalls may affect Kentucky residents who own Audi A5 and Q5 models. The recalls cover almost 600,000 vehicles. On Feb. 20, Audi will begin a recall of A5 Cabriolets, A5 Coupes and Q5 SUVs that were manufactured in the model years 2013 through 2017. The first vehicle recall concerns 342,867 cars that are all equipped with 2.0-liter TFSI engines.

The Audi engine problem involves an electric cooling pump that has the potential to become clogged with debris. When the cooling pump is clogged, it may overheat and start a fire. Once Audi notifies car owners about the recall, the German auto maker will begin updating the software for the coolant pump on the recalled cars. The software update will allow the power supply to shut down when it becomes clogged.

A second Audi recall that will begin in February covers Q5 SUVs with sunroofs that were manufactured in the model years 2011 through 2017. There is a roof drainage issue with these vehicles that causes water to drip into one of the airbag inflation canisters. If the canister becomes corroded and damaged from the water, the airbag could send shrapnel flying into the vehicle cabin when it is deployed. Audi will fix the problem for car owners once the recall starts.

Kentucky residents may be aware that millions of vehicles have been recalled in recent years because of safety issues ranging from locking ignition switches to exploding airbags. The accidents and litigation that prompts these recalls can damage corporate reputations and erode hard-won market shares. In addition, product liability lawsuits can also be difficult for manufacturers to win. This is because of the doctrine of strict liability, which means that plaintiffs are not required to demonstrate that defendants acted negligently or recklessly.

Not having to establish negligence makes product liability lawsuits less intimidating to plaintiffs. However, the thought of taking legal action against a wealthy and powerful corporation can still be frightening. Since civil litigation is conducted in public, the process can be easier for those who have been injured in an accident caused by defective auto parts.

Product liability issues can cause sales to plummet and stock prices to sink, which is why manufacturers may wish to settle these matters quietly whenever possible. They may also desire a speedy resolution to avoid punitive damages. Corporations are sometimes ordered to pay millions of dollars to the defendants in product liability cases when they have not done enough to protect consumers. These punitive damages are designed to both hold wrongdoers accountable and deter others from taking the same path.

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