Corporate America would like for you to believe that frivolous lawsuits are prevalent in our civil courts, and that auto accident lawyers are to blame. What they don’t want you realize is the positive effect personal injury and auto accident lawsuits have had on the overall safety of consumers in the United States.
Approximately 10 million new passenger vehicles are sold in this country every year, and that creates a lot of potential for car accidents, as well as manufacturing errors. Regulatory agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Food and Drug Administration are a few of the organizations charged with monitoring product manufacturing and safety. Though the regulatory groups can influence law-making, fines and voluntary recalls, each organization can handle only so much. They, as well as we the consumers, have to trust that product developers and manufacturing companies will adhere to current safety regulations and fix any product safety issues before the goods hit the market.
Unfortunately, they don’t. So, this is where the accident lawyer comes in to play. Some accidents are truly accidents. But some accidents are caused by a blatant disregard for safety. The difference isn’t always obvious to a lay person, the accident victim, or even a regulatory agency. The special focus and investigative skills of personal injury and accident lawyers can get to the bottom of it. Sometimes, just one case leads us to a Pandora’s Box of issues that went undetected for years!
A 2010 report by the American Association for Justice recognized numerous auto safety issues that have been corrected through successful civil litigation over the years. The cases (the first from 1916) includes the well-known recall initiated because of a March 2000 auto accident that happened right here in Texas.
Donna Bailey was traveling in a Ford Explorer when one of the tires separated and caused her SUV to crash. She was paralyzed because of the rollover accident even though she was wearing her seat belt. She hired an auto accident lawyer to seek damages for her injury. They didn’t know then that Bailey’s lawsuit wasn’t the first of its kind.
Because of the realization that Firestone tire separations have caused numerous auto accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the Firestone tire separations, and in August 2000 the company recalled 6.5 million of its tires. Because of Bailey’s case, internal Firestone communications were opened that showed the company knew of the manufacturing flaw in its tires as early as 1997. They were also aware the flaw could lead to potentially deadly auto accidents, though they did nothing to correct it.