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Lawsuit claims automakers knew of defective Takata airbags for years

Posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2017   

Despite knowing that Takata-manufactured airbags had the potential to violently rupture and injure vehicle occupants, at least four automakers continued to use the airbags in new vehicles to keep costs low, a new lawsuit alleges.

Up to this point, automakers had claimed that they had no knowledge of the defective airbags and had been effectively “tricked” by the manufacturer, but a new lawsuit alleges that Ford, Nissan, Toyota, and Honda all were aware of the defects according to company documents. While the accused automakers are either denying or refusing to comment at this time, the Justice Department’s probe and lawsuits like this one seek to bring the truth to light.

If the automakers were aware of the defects and pushed costs above the safety of drivers and passengers, they may be held liable for their negligent actions. The recklessness of a major corporation can have devastating effects on the public, and the attorneys of Pohl Berk, LLP are prepared to help you if you have been hurt by a defective Takata airbag. Contact us at 615-227-2765 to discuss your legal options today, and read the New York Times article here.


Takata Pleads Guilty to Airbag Fraud, Agrees to $1B Criminal Penalty

Posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2017   

Embattled airbag manufacturer Takata agreed in early 2017 to plead guilty to wire fraud and pay $1 Billion in criminal penalties for selling defective airbags and purposely concealing testing failures from regulatory agencies and the public.

Evidence shows that the company’s airbag tests revealed repeated ammonium nitrate ruptures which resulted in a spray of shrapnel into the cab of the vehicle. After numerous consumer injuries and deaths, the company continued to conceal the data revealed in their tests.

According to ABC News, $125 million dollars of the agreed penalty payment will go to victim’s compensation, while another $25 million will go to paying the general criminal fines. Automakers who installed Takata airbags will be forced to replace them in all vehicles, so the remaining $850 million will go to those companies responsible for cleaning up the mess made by Takata.

If you own a vehicle that has a defective Takata airbag, it is essential that you pay attention to your manufacturer’s recall notices. Of the 60 million Takata airbags installed in vehicles, only 12 million have been replaced so far due to replacement shortages.

For individuals who have suffered an injury due to a defective Takata airbag, know that you do not have to suffer alone. The Takata airbag lawyers of Pohl & Berk, LLP are here to help you if you or a loved one have been injured by the negligent actions of this car company. Contact us at 615-277-2765 to discuss your claim today.

Fiat Chrysler vehicles under investigation for roll-away accidents

Posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2016   

Earlier this month, the NHTSA began a new investigation into the electronic rotary gear shifters in Fiat Chrysler vehicles. The shifters can be found in more than one million vehicles and may have a flawed design. There have been numerous reports of cars rolling away after their drivers exited the vehicle when they believed the vehicle to be in park. In many cases, the car rolled away even when the gear was set to park.

The error is to blame in more than 25 accidents and nine injuries. Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was killed after his 2015 Jeep Cherokee rolled backwards and pinned him to a pole in his driveway. The electronic gear shifters in question don’t actually change the gears themselves, but instead send a signal to the car to change the gear for you. This method is unlike traditional shifters, which mechanically change a gear’s configuration to the desired function. The technology has been found confusing in the past, and now there is a chance that some units are defective as well. Many people have reported their new cars are not registering being in park, despite the shifter indicating it is.

These electronic gear shifters debuted in 2013 and are used in many vehicle makes, including models from:

  • Dodge
  • Chrysler
  • Jeep
  • Jaguar
  • Land Rover

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles that use these shifters have been recalled, and this is not the first time the NHTSA has launched an investigation into them. Cars with this issue were also recalled in April of this year. Fiat Chrysler’s response has been to incorporate a failsafe, meaning some cars will automatically activate the parking brake if a door is opened while the engine is running. In some cases, they’ve tried to issue software patches to achieve the same effect.

Nevertheless, these so-called roll-away accidents remain a persistent problem that will need to be addressed. Until the results of the NHTSA investigation are released, the causes of the issues may remain unclear. The one thing that is clear is that until that point, these electronic gear shifters pose a real danger. If have been hurt because your car rolled away on its own and you believe that a faulty gear mechanism is responsible for your injury, contact the Tennessee defective car shifter attorneys of Pohl & Berk, LLP. We can help you determine the liability in your case and whether or not you are eligible for compensation. Call us at 615-277-2765 to learn more.

Death Toll for Defective Takata Airbags Reaches 14

Posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016   

Two more deaths directly linked to faulty Takata airbags have exacerbated the largest auto recall to ever transpire, with roughly 313,000 ’01–’03 Honda and Acura vehicles affected. Among the recent fatalities include a woman who succumbed to injuries sustained from a collision in Riverside County, California and a death that occurred in Malaysia. Both deaths arose from ruptured Takata airbag inflators on the driver-side. The global casualty count for Takata’s defective airbags has climbed to 14 with 11 deaths occurring in the U.S.

Nearly 100 million Takata air bag inflators have been declared to be defective. A substantial recall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has led to the replacement of approximately 11.4 million airbags as of October 7, 2016, a number that makes up only 36 percent of the faulty airbags. About 70 million more airbags are expected to be recalled through 2019, encompassing the largest auto recall in U.S. history.

While 14 people have died because of the faulty airbags, more than 100 other injuries have been sustained by drivers of the affected vehicles. The disastrous amount of casualties and injuries brought on by the airbags has led Takata Corp. to suffer a dramatic financial decline along with plummeted stock prices.

Defectively manufactured products have the potential to cause significant injury to consumers worldwide. If you have been hurt by or sustained losses because of a faulty mechanism in your vehicle, don’t hesitate to contact Pohl & Berk, LLP at 615-277-2765 to learn about how you can recover damages for your suffering.

Multi-state lawsuits filed against Fiat Chrysler for defective Jeep gear shifts

Posted on Monday, October 10th, 2016   

Five class action lawsuits and two individual personal injury lawsuits were filed across seven states in response to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration investigation into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep Grand Cherokee’s gear shifters.

Among these plaintiffs are Victor and Irina Yelchin, parents of film and television actor Anton Yelchin, who died on June 19, 2016 in Los Angeles after his Jeep rolled backwards and pinned him against a gate. The incident instantly killed him. The lawsuit was filed in a California state court to be consolidated with the other suits.

According to Judge Sarah Vance, “The actions share complex factual questions arising out of allegations that the monostable electronic gearshift installed in certain vehicles manufactured by FCA US LLC is defective and unreasonably dangerous in that it allegedly fails to provide the driver with an adequate indication of whether the vehicle is in the ‘park’ position and lacks a safety override function that would place the vehicle in ‘park’ automatically when a driver exits the vehicle while it is in another gear.”

If you plan to file a personal injury claim against other drivers, call our attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP by dialing 615-277-2765. We can help you receive compensation from those who should take direct responsibility for what caused your personal injury accident in Nashville.

GM Issues Airbag Recall

Posted on Monday, September 12th, 2016   

General Motors has issued a recall on 4.3 million vehicles to address an issue in which the airbags may not deploy during an accident. So far, one death and three injuries have been tied to this airbag issue.

This recall is contrary to other recent airbag recalls, as those concern airbags deploying at unexpected and unnecessary times, leading to serious or fatal injuries. In the recalled GM vehicles, a sensor for the airbags would sometimes run a diagnostic test while the car was being driven, putting it in a state where it was incapable of deploying the airbags should they be needed. GM plans to address this issue with a software update that will be available at dealerships.

The recall marks a drastic change in the way GM handles safety and defects. After sustaining heavy fines during a previous recall involving ignition switches that would cause cars to switch off while being driven, the company has implemented a program that allows people to report safety concerns.

If you’ve been injured as a result of a defective automobile, it is possible to hold the car’s manufacturer accountable for allowing defective safety features. The Tennessee automobile defect and malfunction lawyers of Pohl & Berk, LLP, can help you understand this process and may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries. Call 615-277-2765 today for more information.

Volkswagen to Compensate Dealerships for Lost Value

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016   

Volkswagen dealerships have been going through a difficult year.

Before the emissions scandal broke out last year, Volkswagen dealerships were growing at a frantic pace. However, since the company admitted to using a device to cheat Federal emissions standards, the value of these dealerships has plummeted. Their inventory cannot be sold as it is, and as a result these dealerships have lost a great deal of their value. Some are worth barely more than the land on which they sit.

To help dealerships survive this engineered disaster, Volkswagen has announced an agreement to pay back dealerships for some of their lost value. Sources say the agreement can amount to as much as $1.2 billion, split among the company’s 650 U.S. dealerships. This amounts to an average of $1.85 million for each dealer, depending on size and inventory. This amount is in addition to the $10 billion the auto manufacturer plans to pay customers whose diesel vehicles were equipped with the emissions defeat device.

Defective products hurt people and the environment every day. If you’ve been injured or otherwise adversely affected by a product defect, call Pohl & Berk, LLP, at 615-277-2765 to speak with an attorney about your situation.

Airbag Maker May Be Under Fire in Death of Canadian Driver

Posted on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016   

The rupture of an airbag in a low-speed collision in Canada last month resulted in the death of a driver. The malfunction of the airbag, manufactured by ARC Automotive, a Tennessee company, has American regulators investigating the components of the safety device as well as possible explanations for the singular fatality on record for ARC.

In past years, Takata, another manufacturer of airbags, has come under serious scrutiny after their devices resulted in at least 14 deaths and over 100 injuries, prompting the recall of millions of car airbags worldwide. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is leading the investigation on ARC, claims that the design of Takata’s notoriously dangerous airbags have “significant design differences” from the airbags manufactured by ARC. However, both airbags use ammonium nitrate in their inflators, a compound that breaks down over time and is highly susceptible to environmental variables.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of defective airbags, know that the manufacturers of dangerous products can be held accountable for their negligence.

Volkswagen to pay over $14 billion to settle emissions scandal

Posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016   

One of the largest consumer class action settlements in United States history is currently underway after it was uncovered that automaker Volkswagen programmed some of its diesel cars to cheat on emissions test. The scandal affects 11 million vehicles worldwide. The company has agreed to pay $14.7 billion to settle claims in the US, which only covers a fraction of the 11 million vehicles that have been confirmed to be involved.

In accordance with the Clean Air Act, automobiles are not permitted to emit a certain amount of common air pollutants because of the harmful effects they subject to both human health and the environment. The Volkswagen vehicles involved were found to be spewing nitrogen oxides at up to 40 times the levels that are permitted by law. The company circumvented this legal limit by fitting the pollution controls systems in their cars with illegal software that enabled the cars to pass emissions tests, but exceed legal pollution limits while on the road.

Volkswagen has been subject to a $10.3 billion dollar buy back of all affected cars at their pre-scandal values coupled with cash compensation for all of the vehicle owners. They must also pay $2.7 billion to an E.P.A fund for environmental impact compensation as well as another $2 billion on new cleaner vehicle projects. Aside from this, the company also still faces criminal investigation by the Department of Justice and attorneys general in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the District of Puerto Rico, with a pending settlement of $500 million in penalties for defrauding consumers.

Jeep issues recall over potentially faulty airbags

Posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2016   

Around 500,000 Jeep Wranglers are being recalled by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles due to an airbag issue, with approximately 392,000 of these vehicles located in the United States. The concerns regarding this recall are extremely serious, as it has been discovered that the airbags on the driver’s side of these vehicles might not deploy in the event of an accident.

7,400 2011-2016 Wranglers used for delivering mail have been recalled in the US, as well. These vehicles are different in that they have right-hand drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered the defect during investigations, causing the automaker to issue the recall. According to Fiat Chrysler Automakers, because Jeep Wranglers are built and often used for off-roading purposes, dirt accumulated during these excursions could clog the system that activates an airbag deployment in an accident. Luckily, should this occur, an airbag warning light will come on, alerting the driver to the issue.

The automaker has stated that so far, no injuries related to the defect have been reported.

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