A four year old girl filed a lawsuit against Nissan, blaming the design of its floor mats for her mother’s death. The suspect, a 65 year old man driving a 2012 Nissan Versa, ran into five people on Sonoma Boulevard in Vallejo earlier this summer, including the plaintiff’s mother. He killed the young girl’s mother, and broke the mother’s sister’s spine and legs. The man dragged the girl’s mother for at least 40 feet. The girl is seeking punitive damages for wrongful death, and is asking that Nissan order a recall of the vehicles.
According to the plaintiff, the accident was caused by the flawed design of a carpet panel in 2012-2015 Nissan Versas. She alleges that the carpet panels prevented the driver from stepping off the gas pedal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the alleged defect five days after the accident occurred, after receiving numerous complaints.
The NHTSA later revised its investigation to exclude the 2012 Nissan Versa, because its carpet trim panel is different from the 2013-2015 models. Some believe that was a mistake because photographs show that the carpet panel design is very similar.
This tragedy may have been prevented if the company had investigated the situation immediately when they received complaints about the floor mats and issued a recall. Instead, the company did not issue a recall and the dangerous product was allowed to continue to be used, possibly resulting in a death and several serious injuries.
It’s not uncommon for companies to ignore complaints from consumers about dangerous products because they areoften hesitant to issue recalls, which can be expensive and damaging to a company’s reputation. Instead, companies frequently try to deny there’s a problem, and then quietly settle any cases that arise as a result of their dangerous products because they believe it is more economically effiicent to settle cases that arise than it would be to issue a massive recall. In recent years, Toyota and GM both knew of problems with their vehicles (unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles and defective ignition switches in GM vehicles) for years. Instead of issuing huge recalls, they chose to do nothing and allowed numerous deaths and catastrophic injuries to occur.
Companies have a duty to produce products that are safe for their intended use. This includes performing thorough tests on products the company offers for sale. In some cases, the product may have a design defect, manufacturing defect, or an improper warning. If dangers with the product become apparent, the company has a legal duty to issue a recall.
If a consumer is harmed by a dangerous consumer product, the individual has a right to damages from the company. The company can be held liable for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If the company’s actions were particularly egregious, the company may be liable for punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are designed to punish companies for their wrongful actions. In addition, family members may also be able to receive compensation for their loved ones’ injuries.
If you have been injured because of a defective consumer product, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco dangerous products attorney, at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that anyone who is injured by a dangerous consumer product, such as a defective automobile, toy, or prescription drug, should hold the company that manufactured the product legally liable. Liberty Law works with clients throughout the San Francisco area, including Oakland, Hayward, Fairfield, San Jose, Berkeley, Tracy, Sacramento, and the surrounding areas. Call today to schedule your free consultation.