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Monday, February 22, 2016

Further Recalls of Ford Pickups with Takata Airbag Defects

How many more vehicles are involved in the latest Takata recall?

One of the most serious and far-reaching vehicular recalls has just expanded again. On January 27, it was reported that Ford is recalling about 391,000 Ranger pickups because the driver's air bag inflators, manufactured by Takata Corp., a Japanese company, have once again been shown to potentially explode with excessive force on impact, resulting in serious injuries and even death. This is not the first time Ford Rangers have been targeted for recall over an air bag issue. They were also recalled last year to replace the passenger air bag inflators.

Obviously, this problem with the Ford pickups is an extension of the immense Takata inflator scandal that has rocked the automotive industry and put the public on further notice that they cannot expect auto manufacturers to routinely provide them with safe vehicles.

 As the turmoil around Takata inflators continues to grow, the statistics have become staggering. The recalls already cover 14 auto and truck manufacturers, and approximately 24 million vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the number of recalls is likely to further expand to include other automakers.

The Case Behind the Recent Recall

This most recent recall covers trucks from the 2004 through 2006 model years in both the United States and Canada. The recall was announced just days after a South Carolina driver died as a result of his injuries from an inflator explosion. In this case, Joel Knight, a 52-year-old man, died after his 2006 Ranger accidentally hit a cow in the road, and then struck a fence.

The accident, which occurred not far from Columbia, would have been considered moderate if not for the inflator rupture. According to the family attorney, the fatality resulted from Mr. Knight being struck in the neck by metal shrapnel, not from the crash itself.

Reasons for Recalls

According to government officials, automakers will have to recall another 5 million vehicles equipped with the faulty Takata inflators. While some of the recalls will be based on the crash that killed Knight, others will be necessary as a result of air bags failing laboratory tests.

Problems with the Airbags

Apparently, at the root of the problem with the Takata airbags is the chemical ammonium nitrate. This substance is used to cause a small explosion to create gas in order to inflate the air bags during a crash. Tragically, however, the chemical, when exposed to high heat and humidity, can deteriorate over time, burning fast enough to blow apart the metal canister intended to keep the explosion contained.

Clearly, the airbag defect is an extremely serious one that has already resulted in 10 deaths (including Knight's) and more than 100 injuries. Ford has stated that it will be sending letters to owners about the recall beginning the week of February 22nd. While the auto company has some replace parts available, it is working collaboratively with air bag manufacturers to make additional inflators as quickly as possible. Ford says customers can find out if their trucks are included in the recall by going to Ford.com, clicking on "safety recalls," and then entering their vehicle identification number.

Fortunately, not all cars that are "lemons" are as dangerous as those described, but for those undergoing the continued expense and inconvenience of defective vehicles, it helps immeasurably to have a Lemon Law attorney on your side.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

How To Proceed When You Are Injured Due To A Vehicle Defect

What should you do after being injured in an accident that was caused all or in part by a defective vehicle?

Cars are made up of thousands of components.  Unfortunately, when one component is defective it can easily cause an accident.  If you were injured in an automobile accident as the result of a defective car part, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced attorney can represent you in bringing a products liability lawsuit against the auto manufacturer and other parties.  Steps You Can Take After an Accident

If you know what caused the accident or exacerbated your injuries (for example your airbag deployed for no reason or your accelerator got stuck) it is important to bring the vehicle to a mechanic you trust so that they can document this.  If you are unsure what caused the accident or your injuries, but believe that it may have been a defective part, you should also immediately  bring your vehicle to a trusted mechanic so that they can determine whether a faulty component was at play. Once you find that a defective component was involved you should then look to see whether the manufacturer ever issued a recall.

Some common defects of automobiles include:

  • Airbag failure
  • Premature airbag deployment
  • Breaking or unhooking of seatbelts
  • Unintended acceleration
  • Brake failure
  • Roof collapse

At this point, you should take it upon yourself to document as much as you can about the accident.  Get the mechanics findings in writing and gather police reports and insurance records.  You should also take pictures of the vehicle inside and out.

Once you have done all this you are ready to speak to an attorney.  You should seek out someone who is experienced with auto defect litigation and who deals with car manufacturers on a regular basis.  


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Airbag Fatalities Reveal Flaws in U.S. Recall System

What is the latest news on automobile recalls?

Fatalities linked to Takata Air bags reveals flaws in the U.S. recall system. After eight reported deaths, and about 100 other injuries caused by shattered air bags, vehicles with these flawed devices were not not recalled swiftly enough, and completing repairs to the devices occurred at a slow pace, leaving many individuals at risk of injury or death.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced the latest death of a minor child that most likely resulted from air bags that can spray drivers and passengers with shrapnel. Although the agency acknowledged the pace of recalls had picked up -- to about 2 million per month, 19 million vehicles under the recall are still unrepaired. Moreover, it may take another 7 months to complete the needed repairs.

Consent Decree between the NHTSA and Takata
Takata reached a 5-year consent decree with the NHTSA in 2015. The company agreed to pay fines of $70 million, fire some employees and phase out the chemical explosive linked to the failures. If the company fails to live up to the agreement, it will be subject to additional fines of as much as $130 million.

The consent decree included installing an independent monitor, to be paid for by Takata. The NHTSA decree also imposed deadlines for action that are designed to speed up the pace of recalls and repairs. Meanwhile, the NHTSA has reportedly expanded its recalls beyond Honda to include models manufactured by other automakers that contain the defective airbags.

A Flawed Recall System

The slow response in the airbag debacle speaks to the broader issue of flaws in the nation's automobile recall system. According to the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington-based advocacy group, only about 70 percent of newer vehicles covered under recalls are repaired, while the figures for older vehicles are even lower -- in a range of 50 to 60 percent. In short, the flawed recall system can lead to cars that have not been repaired being legally resold, resulting in tragic deaths that should have been prevented.

Lawmakers have also failed to address this issue. Amazingly, a measure included in transportation legislation that would have required used car dealers to perform repairs on all outstanding recalls was dropped before the bill passed.

While the government is responsible for the recall system, there are other legal remedies available to consumers. If you own a car that is under a recall and repairs have not been made, you should consult with a qualified Lemon Law attorney.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

As Volkswagen Works to Retain Customers’ Trust, Owners Find Ambiguities in ‘Goodwill Package’

The embattled European car conglomerate Volkswagen has had a tough year. First, the car maker came under significant global scrutiny after it admitted to altering its vehicles in order to pass American emission standards tests – hiding the fact that its diesel models emit nitrogen oxides in extremely high levels. Then, the company admitted that it had installed software (also known as “defeat devices”) in 11 million models worldwide that worked to trigger faux emission rates during testing sessions, only to return to normal levels once the emissions assessment concluded – rendering all emissions testing thus far essentially useless.


One would think, after all the negative press over the past 12 months, Volkswagen would engage in the most valiant of efforts to regain the trust of its loyal diesel constituents. And it has certainly made an attempt, known as the “VW Goodwill Package.” However, many are beginning to read (and question) the fine print – prompting inquiries over how good-natured the company actually is, notwithstanding its ongoing international legal woes.

The Goodwill Package applies to all 2-liter diesel models, and purports to offer a $500 prepaid Visa card, a separate $500 card that can only be used at Volkswagen dealerships and three years of roadside assistance. Moreover, the company vehemently insists that accepting the Goodwill Package will not impact an owner’s right to sue the company, and includes the following language: “affected customers eligible for the Goodwill Package are not required to waive their rights or release their claims against Volkswagen Group of America in order to receive the Package."

However, a separate section reads as follows: VOLKSWAGEN PREPAID VISA ® LOYALTY CARD CARDHOLDER AGREEMENT IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY.  THIS AGREEMENT CONTAINS AN ARBITRATION PROVISION REQUIRING ALL CLAIMS TO BE RESOLVED BY WAY OF BINDING ARBITRATION. Again, prompting many to question whether they are further waiving any rights by accepting this Goodwill Package.

Officials for Volkswagen insist that the binding arbitration agreement applies to any disputes involving the gift cards, which were created by third parties not affiliated with VW. However, the prepaid card agreement makes several more mentions of the cardholder’s waiver of the right to a trial by jury, and that any disputes or conflicts must be resolved by arbitration in the convenient location of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

In sum, time will tell whether VW plans to invoke these clauses against diesel owners seeking compensation for faulty emissions reports and the installation of “defeat devices.” Until then, always read the fine print.


If you are a VW diesel owner with questions about your rights, contact a product liability attorney.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

15 Senior Auto Manufacturer Executives Meet with U.S. Transportation Secretary to Discuss Improving Auto Safety

What steps are being taken to improve auto safety after massive recalls and deaths?


U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently met with 15 automaker senior executives in order to discuss ways to improve auto safety. This meeting was organized after several major auto defects not only occurred, but remained unattended to for long periods of time, eroding public confidence in both automobile safety and government oversight.

Both safety and cybersecurity initiatives were discussed, although no information regarding the cybersecurity initiates was disclosed. The DOT Press Secretary, Namrata Kolachalam, said that the meeting had been "very productive" and that the same group would meet again in January to evaluate progress. Among the attendees were senior executives from BMW, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Mitsubishi and Tesla Motors.
The meeting comes on the heels of the recent auto defect crises involving the General Motors ignition switch and the Takata airbags. The failure to detect these serious defects resulted in major recalls and decreased consumer confidence. Much worse, together they resulted in the loss of more than 100 innocent lives.

Results of the Meeting

According to a General Motors spokesperson, the meeting was "productive,' and "in the best interest of overall vehicle safety." Most participants reported that they were looking forward to "continuing the dialogue." The auto executives who attended the meeting were encouraged to work more closely with the government on tackling safety issues and recalling defective cars more quickly and efficiently. They were also encouraged to bring new ideas and questions to the table at subsequent meetings.

Secretary Foxx said that this meeting was evidence of the automobile industry's ongoing "commitment to safety." If you are involved with an incident involving an auto defect or recall, be sure to contact an experience "Lemon Law" attorney to assist you in obtaining justice.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What’s New in Recalls: Tesla & Hyundai Recalled Amid Safety Concerns

This past year has been historic in terms of automobile recalls, and the numbers keep growing steadily. In November, both Tesla Motors and Hyundai Motors issued major recalls of certain models amid safety concerns, meaning significant expenses for the automakers as they are required by law to repair and replaced any recalled vehicle components. Moreover, automakers can still face liability in the event a driver or passenger in a recalled vehicle is injured while driving. This is where a competent attorney familiar with the consumer rights laws concerning automobiles is invaluable.

For Tesla, the problem involves potential dangers with the front seatbelt assemblies, which are obviously necessary to ensure the safety of both driver and passenger while the vehicle is in motion. More specifically, the company announced a worldwide recall of 90,000 Model S sedans, and stated that the expense of the recall was “immaterial.” The company issued its recall after a single complaint, which occurred when a European driver’s seatbelt came unhinged when he angled his body to talk with passengers in the backseat. Tesla stated that it has emailed Model S owners, directing them to bring the vehicle to one of 125 repair centers nationwide for inspection of a bolt that attaches the seatbelt mechanism to the floor of the vehicle.

Hyundai, on the other hand, is facing difficulties on the backend, and has recalled 305,000 Sonata sedans because of potentially defective brake lights. More specifically, the vehicle’s brake pad has a tendency to become worn, causing the plunger to stick to the brake pedal and the brake light to stay permanently illuminated. Hyundai officials are also concerned that the defect could cause problems with the safety feature that allows the vehicle to override the gas pedal to engage the brakes. However, no injuries or accidents have been reported thus far.

When your vehicle is recalled or when you are face with significant or recurrent repairs of a new vehicle, get in touch with a Lemon Law attorney as soon as possible.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lemon Laws Used to Address Problematic 2015 Jeep Cherokees

I just bought a 2015 Jeep Cherokee, and I am already experiencing problems with the transmission system. Do I have any legal recourse?



When it comes to selecting a new car, the last thought on most buyers’ minds is avoiding a catastrophic, systemic transmission failure after just 3,000 miles. However, unfortunately, this is has proven to be a reality for a number of 2015 Jeep Cherokee purchasers – many of whom report a contemporaneous failure of the vehicle’s electrical system as well.

According to reports from several Jeep Cherokee owners – particularly the 2015 Trail Hawk model – vehicles with as little as 1,500 miles on the odometer are displaying a “check engine” light, shifting hard, stalling, and creating noticeable “thumping” noises within the chassis. These same owners, hoping to fix the problem quickly and continue down the road, are being met with difficult dealerships refusing to make timely, accurate repairs. Fortunately, New York and New Jersey Lemon Laws apply to this situation, and mandate that the dealer must take immediate corrective action on this type of problem – or face significant exposure to liability.

Lemon Laws apply to newly purchased or acquired automobiles that, despite several attempts at repair, are experiencing one or more major defects that impact drivability and safety. For vehicle owners in this situation, a Lemon Law attorney can help ensure the dealership understands and recognizes owners’ rights, including the right to a full refund of the purchase price – plus expenses (e.g., towing, repairs, inspection, etc.). Lemon Laws also protect consumers from wayward dealerships that attempt to circumvent these laws, since a dealer is not permitted to waive or disclaim the rights contained under these statutes.

In New Jersey, Lemon Laws apply to any vehicle 2 years or newer or within its first 24,000 miles. In Pennsylvania, Lemon Laws apply to vehicles within the first year or 12,000 miles.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Customers and Dealers Respond to Volkswagen Scandal

What are the reactions of Volkswagen owners and dealers to being deceived by a company they believed in?

Customers who have bought Volkswagens for the first time recently, and, even more, customers who have been loyal to the company for years, are expressing disappointment and outrage over the recent scandal in which Volkswagen has admitted to rigging its diesel engines to "fool" U.S. emissions tests.

One California owner, Bob Rand, purchased his Volkswagen Passat last year not only for its high gas mileage, but for its clean emissions. He feels totally duped by the auto company he had so much faith in, and is now trying desperately to unload his fully-loaded vehicle for $10,000 under what he paid for it. Even at such an exceptionally deflated price, he has been unable to sell it.

Rand, who plans to join a class-action lawsuit again Volkswagen, is appalled to find that a firm he had respected and recommended to others was "not above lying just flat out." According to him, "That’s probably about as bad a thing as a company can do is lie to your face when you’re buying a $35,000 car.” Rand is not alone in his anger. Customers all around the country are up in arms about the situation, experiencing financial loss and humiliation when their intention to purchase a car that was both efficient and good for the environment backfired.

Tension among private dealers, wholesalers and car owners across the country is rising quickly. Especially troubling is the fact that the Volkwagen defect was intentionally engineered, premeditated to trick consumers and dealers alike. Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the leader of the largest auto retailer chain in the U.S., takes the position that many people had to have been involved in this dangerous trickery. "It's not a rogue employee," he states, "It's a systemic failure [that] took a lot of meetings...a lot of engineers ...a lot of software programmers...and went on for multiple years."

Meanwhile, dealers, as well as car owners, are deeply concerned. Although not all Volkswagens are affected with the emissions control problem, private dealers are worried not only about how to deal with a crowd of dissatisfied customers, but how to cope with the portion of their inventory that has become unsalable.

Cars that are defective at purchase have always been a costly and emotionally draining problem. If you are undergoing the stress of having purchased a lemon, please get in touch with a Lemon Law attorney as soon as possible. 


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Some Convicted in Car Crashes Now Blame Defects in the Cars They Drove

How many drivers convicted in car crashes can now blame the accidents on car defects?

A growing number of people convicted for their role in car crashes resulting in serious injuries or fatalities are now seeking vindication based on the defects of the cars they were driving at the time. One young woman, Lakisha Ward-Green, spent 3 months in jail after being convicted in an accident in which her teenaged passenger was killed. A Pennsylvania judge has now ruled that the General Motors car she was driving when the accident occurred was one of those later recalled by the company for its defective ignition switch. Her car was one of 2.6 million cars recalled with the problem.

Serious scandals involve other automobile manufacturers besides General Motors, including Toyota, and now, recently, Volkswagen. Many of the recalled cars have been on the road for as much as decade or more, so it is clear that there will be an increasing number of lawsuits against car companies, holding them responsible for undisclosed defects. Also, many cases in which drivers have been found guilty of reckless or negligent driving, some of whom may have already paid high fines, had their licenses suspended or revoked, or who may have spent, or may be spending, time in prison, may now have the option of challenging their convictions based on new evidence of defects in the cars they were driving.

Because of the time that has, in many cases, elapsed between the accident and the automobile recall, however, it may be difficult to reassess facts and assign responsibility to the car company, let alone assign damages. Still, experts feel that there will be an increasing number of cases involving wrongful convictions in the coming days.

If you believe that your automobile is a lemon, don't hesitate to contact a reputable lemon law attorney. 


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Volkswagen Cheats on Emissions Standards Tests

Why did Martin Winterkorn resign as CEO of Volkswagen?

The scandal that has broken surrounding Volkswagen's rigging of automobiles to "fool" regulatory testing of emissions, has shaken confidence in the company and let down its customers. Volkswagen, the largest car company in the world, stands accused of using illegal means ("defeat device") via software to cheat on emissions tests, facilitating false readings of low emissions only during the tests themselves. This car emissions scandal affects 11 million diesel vehicles globally.

In response to the scandal, CEO Martin Winterkorn has resigned, requesting termination of his position as CEO of the Volkswagen Group from the Supervisory Board of the company. While Winterkorn has declared that he takes responsibility for the "irregularities" in the diesel engines, he states that he is "stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible" and "unaware of any wrong doing" on his part.

Winterkorn, who is 68 years old and has been CEO of the company since 2007, had recently had his CEO contract extended until 2018.  The company's former chairman, Ferdinand Piech, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, the inventor of the Volkswagen Beetle, attempted to expel Winterkorn from his CEO position early in 2015, but Piech himself was forced to resign in April.

The executive board of Volkswagen has announced that it will present recommendations for Winterkorn's successor at its upcoming meeting of its supervisory board.

The Executive Committee is so far expressing complete support of Dr. Winterkorn, stating that they have "great respect" for his offer of resignation. They stand by his declaration that he "had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data" and express "respect for his willingness to nevertheless assume responsibility."

if you believe that your automobile is a lemon, don't hesitate to contact a reputable lemon law attorney today for a consultation. 


Monday, September 14, 2015

It’s a Jeep Thing: Automakers Refusing to Fix Water Leaks in Certain Models

What can I do if my brand new Jeep is leaking water and the dealership is refusing to fix the problem?

If you are the proud new owner of a Jeep and are experiencing water leakage issues, you are far from alone. Across the board, nearly every make of Jeep has reportedly caused its owner issues ranging from minor dampness to full-blown mold and permanent damage. Moreover, owners have reported a noted difficulty in successfully arranging a repair with the dealership, prompting many to turn to the services of an experienced and aggressive Lemon Law attorney to right this wrong.

According to widespread customer complaints, water leakage can occur through the windows, dome lights, doors and door handles. Consumers have also reported problems with hard- and soft-top convertibles and sunroofs -- and have even had damage occur to items in the trunk due to leakage through the tail lights.

Under New Jersey and Pennsylvania Lemon Laws, the manufacturer is required to either replace the vehicle or implement a full repair free of charge, provided the customer has requested a reasonable number of repairs to fix the problem (usually three). If the manufacturer still refuses to remedy the issue, despite repeated repair attempts, it may be time to launch a cause of action under the Lemon Law for damages suffered as a result of the obvious defect. In this event, consumers can receive a replacement vehicle (or the value of what they spent on the defective model), as well as reimbursement for incidental expenses incurred – including a rental vehicle or mechanical inspection.

Keep in mind that the Lemon Laws apply to new vehicles with defects apparent within one year of purchase – so do not delay if you sense a problem.

If you are experiencing water leakage issues with your Jeep, be sure to contact a reputable Lemon Law attorney.


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Timothy J. Abeel & Associates, P.C. represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, cities include but are not limited to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, Newark, and Trenton.



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© 2016 Timothy Abeel & Associates, P.C. | Disclaimer
25 Regency Plaza, Glen Mills, PA 19342
| Phone: 888-830-1474
309 Fellowship Road, East Gate Center, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054

301 Grant Street, One Oxford Center, Suite 4300, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

101 Eisenhower Pkwy, Suite 300, Roseland, NJ 07068

About Us | Our Team | Do I Have A Case? | Auto Recalls

FacebookGoogle+TwitterYouTube

25 Regency Plaza, Glen Mills, PA 19342 | 309 Fellowship Road, East Gate Center, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
301 Grant Street, One Oxford Center, Suite 4300, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 | 101 Eisenhower Pkwy, Suite 300, Roseland, NJ 07068
Phone: 888-830-1474

888.830.1474