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K. Lindsay Rakers
K. Lindsay Rakers
Attorney • (314) 588-8500

Are Careless Drivers Using Recent Vehicle Recalls to Their Advantage?

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Recently, we have heard about lot of car recalls. Car manufacturers have recalled vehicles for defective power steering (Toyota power steering recall), defective airbags (General Motors airbag issue), defective tires (Firestone defective tires), defective acceleration systems (Toyota acceleration defect), defective brakes (Honda defective brake recall), and defective electric systems. Curiously, around the same time we started hearing about all of these vehicle recalls, several defendants in cases I am handling, have argued either to the police officers or insurance adjusters that their vehicle experienced a malfunction immediately prior to the car crash.  Specifically, I have had insurance adjusters call me and tell me that their insured (the careless driver who hit my client in the accident) tried to step on the car brakes but they failed – or that the driver pressed on the brake and instead the car accelerated – or that the car was idle and it “jumped” forward as if he had pressed the acceleration when he had not.

Several years ago, it seemed we heard a lot about defendants claiming a “medical emergency” was the cause of the crash.  Now, there were (and still are) car crashes, truck crashes, motorcycle accidents caused by someone suffering from an uncontrollable medical emergency such as a heart attack, seizure, drop in blood sugar, etc.  But it seems that some drivers who were perfectly health claimed a medical emergency when there wasn’t one.  This is unfortunate because it makes folks question the people who really have suffered from a medical emergency.  What these defendants don’t realize is that they will be caught.  A good plaintiff’s attorney will ask the right questions at deposition and will expose a faking defendant’s lie.  And even better, the EMS personnel at the scene and the ER doctors and trauma nurses at the emergency room will fully evaluate such a claim and will document any falsity in the medical record.

I’m afraid that again, some bad eggs are taking advantage of situations that do really happen and do really affect people.  There are indeed innocent people who find themselves driving a car that suddenly doesn’t work as it is supposed to.  Certainly, car accidents and truck accidents have been caused by defective vehicles.  Sometimes, these are single car accidents and sometimes a brake failure or sudden acceleration can cause a multiple car crash.  Sometimes, the defects occur after the crash (when airbags fail to deploy, when a vehicle rolls over following impact, when a car’s roof collapses, when a car’s seat back collapses).  I know represented individuals who have been seriously injured as a result of a defective car.  It angers me when distracted or careless drivers use these tragedies for their own good.  If a driver looks away from the road to change the radio station or answer a text and slams into the rear of someone else’s car, hurts that person, and then claims his brakes didn’t work, or the car suddenly sped up, shouldn’t we all be offended?  Shouldn’t we all call his bluff?  I do.  If I am representing an individual who was injured in a car accident and the negligent driver claims a medical emergency or vehicle defect was the cause of the crash, I will leave no stone unturned to confirm or deny such an allegation.  Indeed, there will be times when this happens but unfortunately, more often than not, it is an excuse given by a careless driver who realizes he will be judged by his peers for intentionally violating safety rules that put our community at risk.

Lying defendants – beware!  We are on to you!