Beware of Defective Mini Coopers

Kansas City Product Liability Attorney - Horn LawThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is preparing to open an investigation into whether BMW failed to recall 30,456 2014 and 2015 Mini Cooper cars, according to a notice issued September 29, 2015. According to the notice, the following Mini Cooper models failed to meet side impact crash standards after two separate crash tests:

  • 2014-2015 Mini Cooper
  • 2014-2015 Mini Cooper S
  • 2014-2015 John Cooper Works

This investigation comes on the heels of another investigation, this one against Fiat Chrysler for failure to enact a timely recall of its automobiles, which resulted in a fine of $105 million dollars.

The September notice reveals that during two different crash tests in 2014, the Mini Cooper failed to meet crash standards. BMW allegedly failed to initiate a service campaign to bring the defective models up to the standards, despite telling the NHTSA that it would. While the extent of the defects is not yet known, BMW could have opened itself up to product liability claims if people have been unduly injured because of the defect.

A Recall May Serve as Evidence in a Product Liability Case

Product liability claims can be based on a defective design that makes a product inherently dangerous; a failure to adequately warn of a risk, or defective construction. Individuals who have been involved in auto accidents in which their injuries were sustained or made worse because of a defective product may be able to use a recall of that automobile as evidence in a suit against the manufacturer of the vehicle. While a recall doesn’t prove or disprove manufacturer liability all by itself, it can be compelling evidence against the manufacturer.

Proving a Product Liability Claim

In the case of the Mini Cooper, if an individual is involved in a side-impact crash and the side-impact airbags failed, causing injury to the occupants of the vehicle, then there may be a claim against BMW for the injuries sustained. If a court found that BMW willfully failed to issue a recall, and the individual proved that the defect caused or exacerbated the injuries, then punitive damages may be awarded.

Products liability suits also help to recover personal loss damages such as:

  • Lost wages, including future loss of earning capacity
  • Medical expense
  • Loss of mobility
  • Loss of health
  • Loss of quality of life

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured Due to a Defective Product

If you or someone you know has been injured due to a defective product, the first thing to do is to seek medical treatment for all injuries sustained. Other actions that you can take to protect your interests include:

  • Save the defective product, or if this is not possible, take pictures and video of the defective product.
  • Document in detail the events leading up to the injury as soon as possible.
  • Contact an experienced Missouri product liability attorney as soon as possible.

The Missouri statute of limitations on personal injury and products liability claims is 5 years from the date of the injury. The sooner you can make a claim, the better your chances of recovery. Call Horn Law today at 816-795-7500 or visit us online for a free consultation.

Tire Safety Prevents Accidents

Tire Safety Prevents Accidents

Tire safetyAccording to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), under-inflated and over-inflated tires severely increase the risk of accident and injury. Hydroplaning in wet conditions, skidding, and losing control are all results of improperly inflated tires. In addition, they can have an adverse affect on your vehicle’s overall fuel economy.

Newer cars and trucks are all equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems, which are now required by law. These systems are able to detect when a tire is more than 25 percent below its recommended level of inflation. However, using a tire pressure monitoring system as a substitute for routine maintenance can lead to disaster. Even highly effective monitors cannot detect all tire maintenance issues. Their sole purpose is to alert you when tires are improperly inflated. Poor sidewalls and tread can be equally dangerous. Below is a list of tips to help you keep your tires in the safest possible condition.

Tire Safety Tips

  • Perform tire pressure self-checks. While under-inflation is the most common tire safety issue, over-inflation can be just as hazardous, as over-inflated tires tend to wear unevenly. Improperly inflated tires may handle poorly and cause overheating, which can result in a dangerous blow-out. The average tire loses approximately one pound per square inch of pressure for every 10 degree temperature drop. They also naturally lose air over time. In fact, all-season tires can have a pressure loss of as much as 13 pounds per square inch annually.  Make sure to check your tire pressure every month, even if you have a monitoring system. Perform the self-check when your vehicle and tires are cool. Read the vehicle’s placard and make sure the tires match the recommended pressure.
  • Check the tread and sidewalls. Cuts, gashes, and bulges are signs of future failure. If you notice this kind of damage, replace the tires. You can use a tread-depth gauge to check your tread. Uneven wear may be the result of misaligned wheels or worn suspension. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles to balance the wear and tear between the front and rear of the vehicle.
  • All four tires should be replaced at the same time. Although it may seem logical to only replace two tires if the others appear safe, this can be risky. For example, if you replace only the front tires, it increases the risk of fishtailing. Alternatively, if you replace only the rear tires, the risk of hydroplaning increases. However, if you must replace only two tires, place the new tires in the rear, shuffling the used rear tires to the front if necessary.
  • Replace tires when they’ve run their course. Even without regular use, tires become unsafe after a certain period of time. Many motor vehicle manufacturers, such as BMW and Ford, recommend replacing tires every six years. Buy the newest tires possible, and follow the manufacturer’s recommended replacement guidelines. Never use a tire that is ten years old or more. Most tires will wear out before age becomes an issue, but there are exceptions to this rule.

The bottom line is, dangerous tires create dangerous driving conditions. Regular checks and maintenance are essential to your safety and the safety of everyone you share the road with.

Horn Law – Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been injured in any type of motor vehicle accident, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The Kansas City-based firm of Horn Law has recovered more than $18 million for clients in the last five years alone. We focus on all facets of personal injury law, and we will dedicate our full resources to your case. Whether you think the accident was the result of faulty or defective tires, another driver’s negligence, or dangerous driving conditions, we can help. Contact Horn Law today for a free consultation on your case.

Federal Law Banning Drop Side Cribs Goes into Effect

Missouri Injury Attorneys would like to alert Missourians to a new law that effectively bans the use of drop side cribs. The law went into effect on July 5. The rule had been announced by the Consumer Productivity Commission last year. Under the new law, it is illegal to manufacture, distribute or import drop side cribs.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates, since 2009 alone, there have been at least 32 deaths involving infants and drop side cribs. Most of these accidents involved strangulation and choking when infants became lodged or trapped in a loose drop side. Other deaths were caused when infants fell through the space created when the detachable side became loose. Missouri Injury Attorneys have been calling for a ban on drop side cribs for a while now. There have been simply far too many injuries and deaths involving the use of these cribs over the past decade.

Drop side cribs became widely popular over the past few years because of the convenience they offer parents. Children are much easier to reach when you can detach one side of the crib. However, it wasn’t long before Missouri product liability lawyers came across a stream of complaints about children being trapped in the gap created by the detached crib side.

Now, manufacturers are prohibited from producing these cribs, and stores are prevented from selling them. Parents are advised to throw out their drop side cribs and buy a new fixed-side crib. However, if you are a parent who already owns a drop side cribs and can’t afford to buy a new one right away, you can contact the manufacturer of the crib to receive a safety device that can help immobilize the detachable side.