Product recalls on cars are not uncommon. Considering the thousands of parts that go into each car or truck, it is understandable that an issue might arise after the cars have been sold and are being driven on a daily basis. Most issues are found before they cause any major damage or injuries, and recall notices are sent to everyone who owns the cars in question so the problem can be fixed.
A recent Ford recall encompasses thousands of cars built at the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. Over 8,000 Ford Escapes built at the Fern Valley, Kentucky plant between March and June 2012 have been recalled because of a carpet issue. Misplaced carpet padding could interfere with the driver's ability to switch from the accelerator to the brake. A Ford spokesperson said the problem was found internally and that no car accidents have been reported as a result of the issue.
While it appears that Ford is handling this current recall properly, that may not be the case in an earlier recall. In December 2004, Ford recalled around 590,000 Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes because a liner around a cable could interfere with the accelerator and cause it to get stuck. The majority of owners of the cars in question had their cars repaired. Then in October 2005, Ford sent a new set of instructions regarding the previous recall to the dealers telling them to be careful not to damage the cruise control cable during the repair. This information was sent only to the dealers, not to the car owners, so anyone who had already had their cars repaired did not know there might be an additional issue.
This very issue may have been the cause of a car accident that took the life of a 17-year-old driver in Payson, Arizona. She was driving her 2002 Ford Escape for the first time. Her mother was following her home when she realized her daughter couldn't stop her car. The teen driver avoided hitting anyone as long as she could, but finally crashed into a car and the Escape rolled several times. She tragically died of her injuries. During a preliminary inspection of the car, it appeared that the cruise control cable was bent, which is exactly what the 2005 notice to dealers warned about.
If it is determined that this recall was handled by Ford improperly, the teen's family and anyone else who may be injured as a result could hold Ford liable and file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the company. Sending out another recall may have seemed like a lot of unnecessary work to Ford executives and may have angered some car owners that had already had the problem fixed, but some extra paperwork and inconvenience is certainly better than losing a loved one to a car accident.
If you have questions about product recalls or think you may have been affected by a defective product, contact a Kentucky personal injury attorney at Miller and Falkner. They have helped numerous clients who have been victims of product liability issues.
Feds probe 730,000 Ford Escapes, Mazda Tributes over crashes from stuck throttles; Motoramic; Justin Hyde; July 17, 2012
Deadly Payson accident raises questions about Ford recall; ABC; Joe Ducey, et al.; July 16, 2012