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Auto Product Liability | Northern California Personal Injury Blog

BMW Recalls Another 569,000 Vehicles

By Kelly Balamuth on February 26, 2013

On February 16, 2013, BMW announced another recall of 569,000 vehicles in the U.S. An additional 65,000 vehicles are being recalled in Canada. Nearly one year ago in March, 2012, close to 1.3 million 5 and 6-Series BMW vehicles manufactured between 2003 and 2010 were recalled. The cars could have ignition failure due to an incorrectly mounted battery cable cover. There was also a potential fire hazard.

Latest Recall Summary

Reported by The Associated Press and published by forbes.com, the latest recall was prompted by a faulty battery connector cable that can fail, causing stalling of the engine. According to documents posted on the NHTSA website, a fuse box terminal and cable connectors can, over time, degrade. The heat and high flow of current may lead to a loss of power to the car when the connection is broken. Vehicles affected include the following:

  • 2008-2012 I-Series convertibles and coupes
  • 2007-20011 3-Series convertibles and coupes, 3-Series sedans and sport wagons
  • 2009-2011 Z4 sports cars

Danger to BMW Occupants

Loss of electrical power may cause the car to suddenly stall without warning. Sudden stalling increases the chances of being involved in an accident.

What Owners Can Do

Owners of the affected cars will be notified of the recall beginning in March, 2013. They will be instructed to bring their cars in to the dealer where the battery cable connector will be replaced and the new one secured in a better way. The repair will cost the owners nothing.

Contact Information

Owners may contact BMW by calling (800) 525-7417.

How Our East Bay Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You

At Balamuth Law we are passionate about representing everyday people who have been injured due to another’s negligence. Car manufacturers have a duty to owners of the cars they make. They should be free of defects that could lead to crashes and to serious injuries or death. If you have been injured due to a defective car, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Call (888) 254-1234 to learn more about how we can help.

Engine Fire Risk Prompts Recall of 89,000 Ford Fusions, Escapes

By Kelly Balamuth on December 12, 2012

The New York Daily News reports that Ford Motor Co. has issued a recall for more than 89,000 Escape SUVs and Fusion sedans because the engine can overheat and potentially cause a fire. The company said in a statement that the auto recall affects vehicles from the 2013 model year with 1.6-liter turbocharged engines that were sold in both Canada and the U.S. Ford is trying to determine what causes the overheating problem. They are currently working on a fix, and are urging owners to contact dealers who will arrange for loaner cars at no charge until the repairs are made.

The company says the engines can overheat and leak fluids onto hot parts, causing fires in the new vehicles. An estimated 73,000 Escapes and 16,000 Fusions are affected.

This latest recall marks the fourth recall in four months for the new Escape, which is a top seller for Ford in the compact SUV portion of the market. The vehicle has previously had problems with carpet padding, cracked fuel lines, and coolant leaks. Safety advocates assert that more than three recalls in the first year is a major sign of quality problems, though Ford is moving quickly to address the problems.

The recall comes after the company received reports of 12 fires in the Escape and one in a Fusion. Presently, no injuries have been reported. Owners of Escape or Fusion vehicles can find out more information about the recall by visiting www.ford.com or by calling Ford at (866) 436-7332 in the U.S.

The personal injury lawyers in Oakland of Balamuth Law understand the serious nature of vehicle defects and know that the safety of an innocent motorist and his or her passengers can be put in danger. When an unsafe vehicle has caused you harm, filing a product liability claim can help you obtain compensation for your losses and also hold negligent manufacturers responsible for their actions. Call (888) 254-1234 to discuss your legal rights and options.

Toyota Announces Global Recall of 7.43 Million Vehicles Due to Faulty Window Switch

By Kelly Balamuth on October 18, 2012

Northern California Toyota Fire InjuryToyota Motor Corporation recently announced a recall of 7.43 million vehicles in the U.S., Japan, Europe, and other countries, due to a defective power window switch on the driver’s side door. According to a CBS News report, the recall affects more than a dozen models produced from 2005 to 2010, and the recalled North American vehicles, totaling 2.47 million, include the Yaris, Corolla, Matrix, Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia, and Scion models xB and xD. The power window switch on the recalled vehicles did not have grease applied evenly during production, which can cause friction and possibly smoke and fire.

Due to the potential fire hazard, the global recall also affects vehicles in China, Australia, Asia, and the Middle East. An additional 460,000 vehicles have been recalled in Japan and a total of 1.39 million vehicles were recalled in Europe. Documents filed by U.S. safety regulators indicate that customers have reported 161 fires and nine injuries, but fortunately no fatalities have been reported. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating the window switch problems in February of this year after noticing a higher than normal amount of complaints, and the investigation remains open.

For customers affected by the recall, Toyota dealers will inspect the switches and apply a special grease to them. Switches and circuit boards may have to be replaced in some cases. In both cases, owners will not be charged. Consumers can call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at (800) 331-4331 or visit www.toyota.com/recall for more information.

A vehicle is an integral part of the everyday lives of California residents. As such, it is imperative anyone harmed by a defective vehicle or auto part understand their legal rights and their right to obtain compensation from negligent parties. The auto product liability lawyers in Walnut Creek of Balamuth Law are committed to preserving the rights of consumers and have the resources needed to prove liability in your case. To see how we can assist you with your claim, call (888) 254-1234 to schedule a consultation.

Volvo Fined $1.5 Million by NHTSA for Delayed Reporting of Recalls

By Kelly Balamuth on July 6, 2012

A new report from Cars.com states that auto manufacturer Volvo received a hefty fine for failure to report safety defects. An investigation conducted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which began in January 2011, found that Volvo failed to issue a total of seven safety recalls within the amount of time required by law in 2010 and 2012. Under the guidelines of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, automakers have five business days after determining a defect exists to notify the NHTSA or they may face civil penalties. According to the NHTSA, the seven recalls involved a total of 32,000 vehicles.

As the NHTSA reports that all seven recalls were not reported in a timely manner, Volvo Cars North America has agreed to pay $1.5 million penalty to settle the charge, and the fine will be paid directly to General Fund of the U.S. Treasury. In addition, Volvo Cars North America, LLC and its parent company Volvo Car Corporation have agreed to make “internal changes to its recall decision-making process” to ensure that the issue does not happen again and defects are reported in a timely manner, as reported by Nitrobahn.com. Several of the problems cited in the recalls include air bags that might not deploy properly, engines that could stall, and incorrect tire-pressure labeling.

Auto manufacturers are legally and ethically obligated to produce safe products and maintain the highest level of quality and testing during production. If a manufacturer does not and instead puts profit before safety, innocent consumers may be put in danger. The Walnut Creek auto product liability lawyers of Balamuth Law are committed to protecting the rights of consumers who have been harmed due to a dangerous auto product. To see how we can help you hold negligent manufacturers accountable, call (888) 254-1234 to schedule a free consultation.

Goodyear Recalls Wrangler “Silent Armor” Tires for Safety Hazard

By Kelly Balamuth on February 29, 2012

Tire manufacturer Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company recently announced that it will recall several different sizes of its Wrangler “Silent Armor” tires, manufactured between March and May 2009, because the tires have a defect that can cause accidents or vehicle damage, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The recall, which is expected to start no later than March 22, affects the following sizes of Goodyear Wrangler “Silent Armor” tires:

  • LT235/80R17 LRE
  • LT325/60R18 LRE
  • LT275/70R18 LRE
  • LT265/70R17 LRE
  • LT245/75R17 LRE
  • LT285/70R17 LRD

These tires have a defect in the tread, which can cause it to separate while the vehicle is being driven. Loose treads can damage the vehicle or can even cause an auto accident, especially if the tire comes apart while the vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed. The damage is most likely to occur under “severe usage conditions,” such as during emergency handling or while driving on particularly bad roads.

Vehicle owners who have these tires may return them for a free replacement set. Those who have questions can call Goodyear toll-free at (800) 592-3267.

Car accidents aren’t always caused by negligent drivers. Sometimes, a defective product fails, triggering an accident that would not have happened if the manufacturer had taken the proper care. The skilled San Francisco auto defect attorneys at Balamuth Law have handled many cases where a defective car part has injured a driver, passenger, or pedestrian. We can help you find out what happened in your case and fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn more about how we can help, call Balamuth Law today at (888) 254-1234 for a free consultation.

Two Car Product Recalls Highlight Safety Risks of Some Tires, Child Seats

By Kelly Balamuth on February 8, 2012

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued two recalls of car-related products with defects that might cause serious injuries or accidents.

San Francisco Defective Auto PartThe first, Toyo’s Extensa A/S car tires, were manufactured with a kink in the bead that can lead to cracks in the tire, possibly causing flat tires or bent rims and a loss of control that might result in an accident. The recalled tires were made between September 2009 and November 2010. Owners of the affected tires can contact Toyo for more information via the company’s toll-free number, (800) 442-8696, or go to the NHTSA website, www.safercar.gov, for more information on replacement tires.

The second defective product is a line of “Chaperone” car seats manufactured by Britax. The straps on these safety seats can come loose from the seat itself, putting a child in the seat at risk of falling out and/or being severely injured in an accident. Britax is offering free repair kits to owners of these car seats to fix the strap problem. To learn more, call Britax’s toll-free number, (888) 427-4829, or visit www.britaxusa.com.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, please don’t hesitate to call the experienced Northern California auto product liability lawyers at Balamuth Harrington. Our dedicated legal team will investigate the details of your case and fight to hold any negligent parties accountable for the harm their actions have caused. Call us today at (888) 254-1234 – the call is free, and it’s confidential.

NHTSA Review Finds No Extra Fire Risk in the Chevy Volt

By Kelly Balamuth on January 27, 2012

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced several months ago that it was looking into safety issues related to the Chevrolet Volt, the auto manufacturer’s highly-touted electric hybrid vehicle, specifically related to an increased risk of fires caused by the battery after a crash. After researching the problem, the NHTSA recently announced that the Volt’s fire risks are no higher than the risks of driving gasoline-powered vehicles.

The investigation began last year, after a side-impact crash test caused a leak in the Volt’s battery-coolant system, resulting in a fire about three weeks after the test took place. Chevrolet engineers have reinforced the coolant system and the battery’s protection, and more recent tests have not shown any of the problems the NHTSA investigated after the first test and fire.

All vehicles pose some risk of catching on fire during or after a crash, according to the NHTSA. Damaged batteries and fuel systems are common causes of post-accident fires, and defective products in these systems can increase the risk of a fire starting without a collision as well. Rescue workers are often trained on safety measures to take at accident scenes, such as draining the battery, which can reduce fire risk.

Car accidents aren’t always caused by distracted drivers. Defective or malfunctioning parts can also cause crashes or other accidents, which can leave drivers and passengers with serious injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective vehicle part or other product, the experienced Oakland auto defect lawyers at Balamuth Harrington can help. For a free and confidential case evaluation, call our office at 1-888-254-1234 today.

Ford Recalls Over 26,000 Vehicles for Faulty Tail Lights

By Kelly Balamuth on July 25, 2011

Ford has announced a recall of 26,715 of its trucks and SUVs due to a malfunction with the exterior tail lights, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The recall affects service parts that were distributed to dealers as well as recently manufactured vehicles. The defect is in the multi-function switch for 2002-2007 F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 trucks, as well as the switch for 2002-2005 Excursions. Switches given to dealers for 2004-2011 Rangers and 2011 Ranger trucks that were made between January 25, 2011 and April 25, 2011 are also part of the recall.

The recall was prompted after it was discovered that the switches have a subcomponent that may malfunction, causing the turn signals, tail lights, hazard lights, and brake lights to stop working. As these important signal lights are essential to alert other drivers to the vehicle’s movements, the loss of function in these lights could lead to a car accident.

Ford says that the recall should begin on August 15 and vehicle owners can have the switch replaced at a dealer for free. For additional information, contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 or Ford’s Customer Relationship Center at 1-866-436-7332.

Car manufacturers are legally required to produce vehicles that meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. If they do not and someone is killed or injured due to their failure, the company can be held liable. If you have been injured in an accident you believe was caused by a defective auto part or vehicle, call the auto product liability attorneys in Orinda at Balamuth Harrington today. Our lawyers will evaluate your case carefully and work diligently to get you the best possible outcome for your case. Call 1-888-254-1234 for a free consultation today.

Department of Transportation Reminds Drivers to Check Tires

By Kelly Balamuth on July 12, 2011

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is reminding motorists to check their tires for proper inflation, signs of tread wear and damage before driving in the hot summer weather. “While it’s true improperly maintained tires can contribute to a crash at any time of year, it is particularly critical for motorists to check tires during hot weather, when families and luggage often overload vehicles for long vacation trips,” says National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator David Strickland, “Underinflated tires spinning on hot asphalt for extended periods of time can be a recipe for disaster.” Motorists should check their tire pressure before long trips and inspect tires periodically. Drivers should also be aware that older tires are more susceptible to heat stress, especially if they are not properly inflated. Tire-related crashes were responsible for 3,400 deaths and 116,000 injuries nationwide between 2005 and 2009. In the press release, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said, “For your safety and the safety of others on the road, inspect your tires regularly and maintain the proper inflation.”

Vehicle owners can find out how old the tire is and what the maximum inflation level is by looking at the tire’s sidewall. Drivers can also check with the tire manufacturer or look in the vehicle owner’s manual to find out how often to replace tires and what the recommended inflation levels are. Properly inflated tires are not only safer but improve a car’s fuel economy, saving drivers money at the gas pump.

Auto accidents caused by tire failure are usually unexpected and frightening. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident caused by faulty tires or another defective auto part, call the San Francisco auto product liability lawyers at Balamuth Harrington. Our knowledgeable attorneys can guide you through the process of getting compensation. Call today at 1-888-254-1234.

Toyota Issues New Recall of 22,000 Vehicles for Tire Pressure Monitor Problems

By Kelly Balamuth on March 9, 2011

In another round of recalls, Toyota has recalled 2008-2011 models of FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, Sequoia, Tacoma, and Tundra vehicles due to issues with the tire pressure monitors, according to USA Today. No accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of the defects.

The recall affects approximately 22,000 vehicles. Due to an error, the tire pressure warning light of the affected vehicles would not turn on at the minimum pressure, which could result in tire pressure that is dangerously low. Drivers who depend on the dashboard light to be notified of low tire pressure are especially at risk. Low tire pressure increases the risk of tire failure and crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires all four-wheel vehicles manufactured after 2008 that weigh less than 10,000 pounds include a tire pressure monitoring system. To fix these defective Toyota vehicles, the system will need to be reset by a dealer.

This recall is the latest in a series of recalls for Toyota. Since 2009, Toyota has recalled almost 20 million vehicles across the world, with the majority of them in the United States. Many of those recalls were due to unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

Car manufacturers have a legal duty to make their automobiles safe for the general public. If those vehicles are inherently dangerous because of a design defect, the manufacturer can be held liable for any damages caused when that defect causes a crash. If you have been injured in a car accident that was due to a defect, contact the Northern California auto product liability attorneys at Balamuth Harrington. We can help you determine the best way to proceed against a negligent auto manufacturer. Call us today at 888-254-1234.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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