Ford Faces Class-Action, Honda Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Ford owners in 14 states, including Illinois, are involved in a class-action lawsuit stemming from sudden acceleration problems. In related news,auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that, Honda recently settled a wrongful death lawsuit in the amount of $3 million that involved a severely defective airbag.

In the Ford case, plaintiffs are claiming that their vehicles can unintentionally accelerate with the driver unable to stop, and that Ford did not employ any fail-safe measure to prevent these defects. They are alleging economic losses, seeking compensation for their depreciated vehicle value. Class action members must have Ford models 2005 through 2010 Mustang, 2002 through 2005 Mercury Cougar, or 2004 through 2010 Explorer.

Ford recognized the problems with the electronic throttle systems and added override systems in its vehicles in 2010, but failed to include the safety measures in older cars, which is the basis of the plaintiff’s complaints. They are saying that the company should have issued a recall and had brake override systems or other fail-safe measures installed in the older vehicles as well. They are also alleging that Ford knowingly concealed the defects from these vehicle owners. Plaintiffs are anticipating having representatives from all 50 states involved in the trial.

In a similar recently settled class-action case, certain Lexus owners sued its parent company, Toyota, when it was revealed their cars had sudden acceleration issues. The automaker initiated massive recalls in 2010 after at least 90 people were killed and 60 others were injured. Toyota ultimately agreed to pay more than $1 billion to its consumers alleging economic losses from the sudden acceleration defects. This number does not include those suing the company for the dozens of wrongful deaths.

Another wrongful death lawsuit was recently brought against Honda after a mother of three young children died when her airbag defectively deployed. The victim, Guddi Rathore, was involved in a minor fender-bender on Christmas Eve. Rathore and her three children, 10-, 9-, and 3-years old, were driving to their grandmother’s house when the 2001 Honda Accord hit a mail truck that suddenly pulled out in front of them. It was a minor accident, and there was not much damage to the Accord or the mail truck. The damage to the Rathore family, however, was devastating.

In the moment of the fender bender, the Rathore’s airbag exploded in her face, sending metal debris into her neck and severing major arteries. She bled to death in front of her children. Honda’s airbag manufacturer, Takata, actually paid the $3 million settlement, as it was this company’s defective airbags that caused Rathore’s death. The U.S. government was also involved in the case, because it was a federal mail truck that caused the accident, and agreed to pay $500,000 to the Rathore family.

In a completely separate airbag issue, Honda recently recalled about 835,000 minivans and Pilot SUV’s manufactured between 2009 and 2013, along with Odysseys made between 2011 and 2013. These airbags may not deploy properly upon impact, unlike the Accord defects, which caused them to deploy explosively too soon.

Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently opened an investigation into 87,000 Honda Pilots manufactured in 2005. To date, the agency has received more than 200 reports of sudden, severe braking in these vehicles, which may be due to defective sensors in the SUV’s Vehicle Stability Assist systems. The agency is also investigating more than 700,000 models of Ford Escape, Fusion, Mercury, Milan, and Mariner vehicles made between 2009 and 2011 after more than 120 reports indicated they can suddenly lose power or stall while in use.

Car recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm hope these NHTSA investigations and automaker lawsuits will prompt increased oversight and required safety measures in our nation’s vehicles. If you or someone you love was seriously injured or involved in an accident due to a defective auto part, you have important legal rights. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be eligible for significant compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.