Fiat Chrysler SUVs and Minivans Recalled Due to Projectile Hazard During Airbag Deployment

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Another year has brought another massive vehicle recall due to defective airbags. On July 13, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the recall of 1.2 million Fiat Chrysler minivans and SUVs due to a defect which has already resulted in at least 14 reports of injury. The airbag covers of the recalled 2007–11 Dodge Nitro SUVs and 2008–10 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans are secured by defective clips, many of which have loosened over time to turn themselves and the plastic emblems they hold into projectiles.

This recall comes on the heels of the 6-years-and-counting saga of Takata’s airbag recall, involving 56 million vehicles made by 19 different automakers in what the NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” As many as 15.9 million defective Takata airbags still remain on the road, resulting in occasional tragedies like the story of 17-year-old Huma Hanif, whose neck was cut by a piece of metal ejected from a faulty airbag inflator, causing her to bleed to death. Her family claims that they were never contacted about the recall.

How Defective Product Law Protects Drivers

Federal laws cover manufacturing defects, design defects and communication about known product dangers, ensuring consumers of a basic right to the implied safety of a purchased product. When you buy a product and use it in the proper way, these laws are there to protect you from unexpected harm. 

On the other side of the equation, consumer safety laws aim to keep everyone in the manufacturing and supply chain honest, applying equally to manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Companies have an obligation to design and manufacture safe products — and when they fail to do so, you have a right to seek action. 

Vehicle Makers Are Held to an Especially High Standard

Product law requires automobile manufacturers to go to great lengths to ensure that every car they produce performs well under typical driving conditions, and mitigates injury in the event of a crash. There is even the added burden of crashworthiness, which requires a car’s designers and manufacturers to look ahead to the human consequences of all types of driver outcomes. This is one of the reasons that auto makers use devices like crash test dummies in simulating crashes.

Since airbags were first required in new passenger vehicles at the start of the 1999 model year, they have been a big part of that safety. Front airbags have been shown to reduce driver fatalities in frontal crashes by 29 percent and front-seat passenger deaths (provided they are 13 or older) by 32 percent. Side airbags reduce a car driver’s risk of death in driver-side crashes by 37 percent and an SUV driver’s risk by 52 percent.

The heightened safety that airbags deliver has become an expectation — which makes it all the more tragic when airbag defects end up causing injury instead of preventing it.

What Types of Injuries Can Defective Airbags Inflict?

While the Fiat Chrysler airbag issue is still unfolding, more is known about the ramifications of Takata’s airbag issue, which has so far claimed the lives of 24 people worldwide while injuring hundreds.

Airbags come out of their housing at speeds up to 200 miles per hour, and must be held to a high design and manufacturing standard. When they fail, injuries can include:

  • Broken bones, skull fractures and brain injury
  • Chemical burns from the gas propellant used for inflation
  • Deep cuts and hemorrhaging from projectiles and shrapnel
  • Blindness caused by exploding airbags

Source: Wikipedia, shared under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

When to Consult with an Experienced Product Liability Lawyer

At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we have over 30 years of experience in litigating product liability cases. We take all claims on a contingency basis, and will only charge you attorney fees if we are able to obtain financial compensation for your losses. Our experience comes in handy when connecting cases with the right expert witnesses, which can be invaluable in demonstrating the validity of a claim.

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt welcomes clients local to our Philadelphia offices and those from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and further afield. To schedule a meeting for a free consultation, fill out our form or call us directly at 1-866-694-5578.

Retailing Giants Ending Sales of Inclined Infant Sleepers as CPSC Study Links Product to Over 73 Deaths

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After the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning in late October 2019 that inclined infant sleepers led to over 73 infant deaths, major retailers are finally responding and pulling these products from their shelves.

Consumer Reports urged retailers in an open letter they sent to 14 different retailing giants, including Amazon, eBay, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Kohls, that they pull these products from their stores in order to keep consumers safe.

Too many retailers had been skirting the issue by continuing to stock products intended for “snoozing,” “napping,” or “resting,” and Consumer Reports stressed that “It is not enough for the products to specify that they are not to be used for ‘prolonged’ sleep … any kind of inclined sleeping position poses risks to infants.”

The CPSC commissioned the biomechanical research to be led by Erin M. Manned, Ph.D., whose study found that “none of the inclined sleep products that were tested and evaluated as part of the study are safe for infant sleep.”

Which Inclined Sleeper Products Were Causing Infant Deaths?

With over 1,108 incidents reported to the CPSC so far, these types of sleepers have been sold at big-box retailers since 2014, and multiple brands and products have been facing recalls.

These include:

The Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper pictured above

Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleepers: These were recalled in April 2019 after a CPSC study links the product to over 30 infant deaths over 10 years. About 4.7 million sleepers were eventually impacted by the recall.

Fisher Price Ultra Lite Day & Night Play Yards: Shortly after the first recall, Fisher Price recalled approximately 71,000 inclined sleeper accessories for their Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yards.

Kids II Rocking Sleepers: These infant sleepers were also recalled shortly after Fisher Price, with their product being linked to five infant deaths since their 2012 launch. These recalled affected approximately 694,000 units.

Dorel Juvenile Group USA’s Bassinets: Dorel had manufactured multiple infant sleepers sold under the Disney and Eddie Bauer brand names. In July 2019 the Eddie Bauer Slumber and Soothe Rock Bassinet and Disney Baby Doze and Dream Bassinet we both recalled affecting about 24,000 units.

SwaddleMe By Your Bed: Only recalled in January 2020, By Your Bed recalled almost 46,300 bassinets that caused similar issues as other recalled beds.

What About These Inclined Sleepers Is Causing Infant Deaths?

The deaths caused by these inclined sleepers is linked to a number of factors but ultimately the research identified carbon dioxide rebreathing, asphyxiation, and suffocation as causes of death.

Parents.com was able to speak to Dr. Mannen who performed the CPSC study identified a couple scenarios that infants were facing:

Suffocation Due to CO2 Rebreathing: The low breathability of certain materials (even mesh) located to the sides of the infants face can lead to carbon dioxide rebreathing which is a large risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Babies Rolling on Their Stomachs: In more than 20 of the cases studies the infants had been found on their tummies, and once they are in a stomach down position, they lacked the strength to push themselves into a new position which could lead to suffocation.

Positional Asphyxia In Standard Sitting Positions: In addition to the dangers of a child rolling over, even without rolling, infants were at risk of potential asphyxiation as the heavy head of an infant has a tendency to fall forward due to the steep angle of these inclined sleepers.

Legal Assistance Is Available For The Families Of Inclined Infant Sleeper Victims

If you or a loved one’s child was harmed after being placed in a Fisher-Price inclined infant sleeper or another brand of infant sleeper don’t hesitate to call our lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt directly at 1-800-590-4116 to learn how we can help you.

If your child has been harmed while sleeping, resting or playing in one of these devices, please don’t blame yourself. You purchased a baby item in good faith, believing it was safe for your child to rest there.

Now it’s time to explore your legal options to determine whether you’d like to pursue legal action against the manufacturer that produced an unsafe product. Please speak with our Pennsylvania Fisher Price Rock n Play law firm today about your options.

DANGEROUS BRITAX STROLLER MAY HAVE INJURED PARENTS AND CHILDREN

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DEFECTIVE PRODUCT LAWYERS PA

Parents often assume that the products intended for use by their children are safe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and there are many situations in which companies put profits ahead of consumer safety and release defective or dangerous products to the market. This was demonstrated recently when news stories broke about a jogging stroller that had caused injuries to parents and children. The popular stroller maker Britax was sued on February 16th by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for failure to issue a recall of models of their B.O.B. jogging strollers.

Injuries When Using the Britax BOB Jogging Stroller

The BOB jogging stroller produced by Britax is intended to keep children safe and secure when parents are using it to run on sidewalks, streets, or even dirt paths. This three-wheeled stroller, which typically costs between $400 and $600, appears to be rugged and sturdy. However, hundreds of reports were sent to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) between 2012 and 2018 stating that the front wheel of the stroller could suddenly become detached. When moving at high speeds, the strollers could then flip over, causing serious or life-threatening injuries to both children and parents. Some of the reported injuries included broken bones and teeth, torn ligaments, and severe lacerations. According to the consumer complaints, B.O.B. jogging strollers have caused these injuries listed below:

Infant/Child Injuries

  • Concussions
  • Injuries to the head and face requiring stitches
  • Dental injuries
  • Contusions and Abrasions

Adult Injuries:

  • Torn labrum (cartilage in the shoulder)
  • Fractured bones
  • Torn ligaments
  • Contusions and abrasions

In 2017, the CPSC requested that Britax voluntarily recall these strollers, but the company refused to do so. Even though the quick-release lever used to secure the wheels to the strollers was prone to cause these wheels to detach, the company claimed that the product was completely safe when used correctly because it had passed all safety tests. While the company ultimately took steps to address the issue in later models of the stroller and put out information intended to help owners use the strollers safely, there are still nearly 500,000 strollers which may be unsafe in American homes.

Contact Our Philadelphia Defective Product Lawyers

At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, our lawyers are experienced in holding negligent companies responsible for injuries caused by defective products. Our experience investigating the causes of injuries, obtaining evidence showing the negligence of product manufacturers, and securing compensation for our clients demonstrates that we can provide you with the representation you need in a product liability lawsuit. If you or a member of your family have been injured by a Britax BOB Jogging Stroller or other product, we will work with you to secure the compensation you deserve that fully addresses the damages you have suffered. To arrange a free consultation with our Philadelphia product liability attorneys, contact us at 215-545-8800.

2.7 Million GM Trucks and SUVs Could Have Defective Brakes

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GM Trucks and SUVs Could Have Defective Brakes

The U.S. government is investigating General Motors (GM) big pickup trucks and SUVs due to faulty braking systems. Roughly 2.7 million vehicles sold in the U.S. may be affected by the issue, so if you own a GM truck or SUV, here is what you need to know.

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