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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.


Honda recalls 600K Odyssey minivans

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2017   

Automobile manufacturer Honda Motor Co. issued a recall for 633,753 of its Odyssey minivans with models ranging from 2011 to 2016 because the seats in the second row of the vehicle are prone to move at unexpected times.

The Odyssey vehicles included in the recall were manufactured between August 1, 2010 and October 1, 2015. According to Honda, the release lever for the vehicles cannot be locked, which means the seats might move unexpectedly. Apparently, the problem was identified via a warranty claim report, Honda added. There have yet to be reports of injuries or fatalities due to the malfunction. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a story about the recall on its website on Thursday, December 29.

If a personal injury accident in Nashville or another area of Tennessee has caused you harm, it is often possible to obtain financial compensation when you seek the legal aid of our attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (615) 277-2765.


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.


Defective Takata airbags still being installed in new cars

Posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2016   

Despite the fact that they will need to be recalled eventually, there are at least four carmakers—Volkswagen, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Fiat Chrysler—that will continue to install defective Takata airbags into new vehicles, according to a report released by a Senate Commerce Committee.  As reported by The New York Times, the report indicates that some vehicles that have been recalled for their defective airbags have been receiving airbags that are defective and which will need to be subject to another recall down the line.

As of now, regulators do not require automakers to tell people who buy new cars that they their vehicle has been equipped with a defective Takata airbag.  Since these airbags are not thought to pose an immediate threat—they only become defective after a certain period of time—regulators have allowed the continued use of Takata airbags in new and recalled vehicles. However, these newly-installed Takata airbags will still need to be recalled at a later date.

Considering that 60 million vehicles have already been recalled to fix the defective airbags, Karl Brauer, a senior analyst for Kelly Blue Book, noted that it has been difficult for automakers to find alternate airbag suppliers.  Nonetheless, Brauer believes that regulators should require carmakers to at least disclose which models have been installed with a defective airbag that will eventually need to be replaced.

When it does come time to begin recalling these newly-installed airbags, automakers will begin contacting owners in the first quarter of 2017 so that their airbags may be replaced with a non-Takata inflator.

 


Ford issues recall on vehicles manufactured in North America

Posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2016   

Michigan-based Ford Motor Co. issued one recall and one safety compliance recall on Wednesday, May 25 for its vehicles manufactured in North America.

Included in this recall are around 271,000 2013-2014 model Ford F-150 vehicles. The issue is the defective brake master cylinders, which can cause brake fluid leaks that impairs the effective operation of brakes to the front wheels. The total number of vehicles impacted numbers 270,873, which includes 225,012 vehicles manufactured in the United States; 43,682 vehicles manufactured in Canada; and 402 vehicles manufactured in Mexico. Dealers are expected to replace the brake master cylinder for Ford F-150 owners for free. Brake boosters will also be replaced for free if dealers find leaks from brake master cylinders.

If you were injured in a personal injury accident in Nashville or another area of Tennessee, the attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP are here to help you obtain financial compensation from those responsible for your plight. Get in touch with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices at (615) 277-2765.


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.


Volkswagen Diesel Scandal To Find Solution in Court

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2016   

German automaker Volkswagen recently missed a deadline to appear in U.S. District court, but they were granted an extension until today, April 21, by U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco. This scheduled court date was meant for Volkswagen to present their plan to make VW cars involved in the company’s current emissions scandal compliant with environmental standards. However, if the company is unable to reach an agreement with the U.S. government, VW dealers, and their customers, a trial may take place to determine what Volkswagen owes to consumers and what changes they will need to make.

Finding an affordable option for the company has proved harrowing, as a satisfactory solution goes far beyond fixing the misleading software. Even if the software is updated and brought into compliance with environmental standards, the cars would no longer drive as well, and the ratings promised to buyers would be compromised. Refitting each car in the United States with proper parts and new computer systems is too costly, so a judge at the last hearing recommended that the company simply buy back the cars.

Buying back the cars would hurt Volkswagen financially, an area in which the company is already suffering. Tony German, a New York resident who drives an affected A3 model Audi, would gladly sell his car back to Volkswagen for the right price. His car’s resale value was damaged by the scandal, and buying a new car is an inconvenience. If Volkswagen can pay buyers for the original cost, and maybe an additional sum for the inconvenience, German and many others will likely gladly give up these vehicles.


Texas teenager killed by exploding Takata airbag

Posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2016   

A teenage driver in Texas was killed on March 31 after the Takata airbag in her 2002 Honda Civic exploded in a minor collision, sending a metal shard into her neck. Sadly, the driver, 17-year-old Huma Hanif, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. With this death confirmed by Honda, the number of fatalities linked to dangerous, recalled Takata airbags in Honda vehicles has risen to 11.

Millions of cars with recalled airbags, produced by Takata, are still on the road. These airbags contain a chemical that prevents proper deployment, with many airbags exploding and expelling metal fragments throughout the vehicle’s passenger cabin. While many owners of affected vehicles have already received recall notices, many of these affected vehicles are more than 10 years old and have been sold to multiple owners. So while law makers are cracking down on recalls, many companies have no way of knowing who now owns the recalled cars.

To make matters worse, only about 27 percent of recalled vehicles have been upgraded with a new airbag. Some of the reason for this is that many dealerships do not even have the parts in stock needed to repair the recalled vehicles. For instances, some Honda owners have been informed that the parts necessary to address this recall will not become available until Summer 2016.

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