Personal injury cases resulting from malfunctioning vehicles
Car accidents are not always solely the result of negligent operation of a motor vehicle. There are times when other factors are involved that contribute to or cause the accident. A car manufacturer may have unwittingly installed defective tires. A repair shop may have failed to properly fix or reassemble a car. Accidents that occur because of malfunctioning vehicles can cause serious personal injury. This includes not only accidents involving multiple cars, but also single vehicular accidents.
Issues concerning manufacturer’s defects can apply to used or new cars. Sometimes there are recalls for concerning problems. Dealers are expected to notify vehicle owners of all recalls. Certainly, whether they sell a used or new car, the dealer should take care of the recall when the vehicle is in their possession. Unfortunately, this was not the standard of care applied in Zakrocki v. Ford Motor Co., A-5769-06T3, 2009 WL 2243986 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. July 29, 2009). In this case, a young woman suffered serve injuries, including almost the total loss of a hand.
On her 22nd birthday, Rebekah S. Zakrocki was driving on the Garden State Parkway. She noticed that she was almost speeding and decided to slow down. At the time, Rebekah’s Ford Explorer was three car lengths behind the vehicle in front of her. Initially, Rebekah took her foot off the gas, but the SUV did not slow down. Rebekah then tried applying the brakes, but the throttle was unresponsive. Rebekah’s vehicle was in the middle lane and there were cars in both the left and right lanes.
As the Explorer neared within one and a half car lengths, Rebekah decided to touch the gas pedal to see if that would help the situation. Instead, Rebekah noted that the accelerator “seemed stuck” and the Explorer surged forward. To avoid hitting the car in front of her, Rebekah veered to the left. The SUV rolled over before coming to its ultimate rest.
Rebekah bought the used Explorer at a Freehold dealership. At the time, Ford had noted issues with defective throttles and was fixing them at no cost. The Zakrocki SUV was delivered by the dealership with no replacement of the throttle. Even when Rebekah brought the vehicle in for subsequent repairs, nothing was done to correct the issue. Ms. Zakrocki was never advised of the problem. Ultimately, Rebekah was awarded damages against the dealership and Ford Motor.
This is just one example of how a manufacturer’s error could result in an accident. Years ago, there were significant injuries and even death associated with Bridgestone/Firestone tires. There have been cases involving defective airbags, seatbelts and locking systems. Any one of these represents major problems.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident that you think may be due to a manufacturer’s defect, it is important to retain an attorney who understands these types of cases. This should be done immediately so that evidence is preserved and available for expert inspection. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone handles all types of personal injury claims. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation.