The 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.