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Oklahoma Automobile Safety

Automobile manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure the product they are selling is safe. If an automobile has a defect, and you are injured as result, then the car's manufacturer may be liable for your injury.

Automobile-related product liability claims can include vehicle crashworthiness claims, rollover claims, and airbag claims where the vehicle and/or any of its components fail to properly protect the occupants. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a manufacturing or design defect, you may be able recover damages from the manufacturer for the injuries you have suffered.

Contact us today if you or a loved one has suffered a loss as the result of a defective automobile by using the form on your left or by calling us toll-free at 1 (866) 664-0400 for a FREE case review.

Some common types of cases involving automotive product liability include:

Defective or Dangerous Airbags

Airbag injuries can be caused by a failure of the airbag to deploy, an airbag that deploys at an inappropriate time or by an airbag that deploys with excessive force.

When an air bag fails to deploy in a frontal impact of sufficient severity, severe injuries to the occupant can occur resulting from contact with the steering wheel and/or windshield that would have been prevented by a successfully deployed air bag.

If an air bag deploys too late, the occupant still is not protected from contact with the steering wheel and/or windshield. In addition, the occupant has now shifted closer to the airbag at the time of its deployment causing even further injuries from the airbag itself.

Early generations of air bags deployed with excessive force causing severe or even fatal injuries after only minor impacts. In some cases automakers were aware that overpowered air bags were causing serious injuries and deaths, while safer air bag designs that were available but not implemented.

Sport-Utility Rollovers

Because sport utility vehicles were originally designed and built to be work vehicles, most are still built using a truck chassis and have not been comprehensively re-designed to be safely used as passenger vehicles.

Because of the high bumper, stiffened frame and heavy steel construction of many SUVs, they can override the crash protections provided in other vehicles when in an accident. Additionally, in many cases the decision to purchase an SUV is based on its reassuring safety, but statistics show just the opposite.

Based on a study in the Los Angeles Times, of the top 20 most dangerous vehicles to other drivers on the road, 7 were SUVs, 8 were pickup trucks and 1 one was a minivan. That means only 4 of the top 20 were actual cars. In addition, the National Center for statistics and Analysis, occupant fatality rates were highest for occupants of SUVs.

Given that overall, rollover accidents are a rare occurrence, the fatalities from these accidents account for one-third of all highway motor vehicle deaths, and accounts for two-thirds of all deaths in SUVs. Some of the reasons can include weak roof structures in addition to insufficient rollover protection by the manufacturer.

Fuel System Defects and Electrical Fires

In many car accidents, one of the resulting occurrences can be a fire or explosion. Fuel system defects, including fuel tank location, can have a significant impact or be the cause of such automobile fires. Currently there are no regulations that require fuel tanks or systems to have any design or location standards. Defects can include the tank being placed in an area close to some other part that can make a puncture in the tank, a tank that is improperly protected or fuel tanks made with defective welds.

Additionally, with the onslaught of electronic gadgetry in many cars, electrical system defects are becoming a leading contributor to automobile fires, even when no occupants are present and the car appears to be safely parked. Electrical systems can short circuit causing catastrophic fires. In more than one instance this has occurred in a vehicle parked in a garage sparking entire house fires.

Defective Tires

The fatigue life of a tire should exceed its tread life by a substantial margin. Design and manufacturing defects reduce fatigue life and can lead to severe accidents, injuries and death, premature of the tire's tread becoming worn out and the tire's expected useful life.

The design and manufacturing defects usually first appear as small cracks on the serial number side of a tire. As these crack give way to larger and larger cracks, they will eventually spread to the belts and can eventually cause a blowout or tread separation.

Tire tread separations, even if not accompanied by a loss of air from the tire, drastically reduce the ability of a driver to control a vehicle. If this occurs, especially when under high speed, the results can be disastrous. At high speed, the events leading up to the failure of the tire will occur so rapidly and unexpectedly that it may be impossible to avoid losing control of the vehicle or to avoid an accident.

Like any other rubber product, tires will degrade over time regardless of tread use or wear. As a result the internal structures degrade, reducing adhesion between the belts, which can in turn cause tread separation. This can occur in tires as old as six years. Because of industry opposition and a lack of consensus among tire manufacturers on an aging standard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's attempt to propose tire-aging test to be performed by manufacturers was shelved.

Defective Child Safety Seats

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new campaign in response to the high percentage of improper child safety seats use. According to a recent survey, child safety seat restraints are misused in 73 percent of the time.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children between the age of 4 and 8 or are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches should be using a child safety seat when riding as a passenger in an automobile.

Even when using child safety seats, adults must be aware of the importance of installing and using them correctly. Proper use of child safety seats can be the difference between saving lives and ending them. In 2003, an NHTSA study showed that about 3,600 children injured within several years in car accidents had a 59% lower risk of injury if restrained in child safety seats than in seat belts alone.

The NHTSA recommends that parents and caregivers continue to check with the child safety seat manufacturer to ensure the performance, operation, and installation is optimal. Safety defects may lead to a child safety seat recall, and can pose an extreme danger to the children relying on its design to protect them from injury.

We can handle your potential legal case if you are in any of these Oklahoma cities. Even if your city is not listed you may still speak with one of our Oklahoma product liability attorneys by filling out our contact form or calling us toll-free at 1 (866) 664-0400.

Ada, Afton, Altus, Alva, Anadarko, Ardmore, Atoka, Bartlesville, Blackwell, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Chandler, Checotah, Chickasha, Claremore, Clinton, Del City, Duncan, Durant, Edmond, El Reno, Elk City, Enid, Erick, Frederick, Glenpool, Grove, Guthrie, Guymon, Henryetta, Idabel, Lawton, Locust Grove, Mcalester, Miami, Midwest City, Moore, Muskogee, Norman, Oklahoma City, Okmulgee, Owasso, Pauls Valley, Perry, Ponca City, Poteau, Pryor, Roland, Sallisaw, Sand Springs, Savanna, Shawnee, Stillwater, Stilwell, Stroud, Tahlequah, Tulsa, Vinita, Wagoner, Weatherford, Woodward, Yukon