Airbag Defects

Airbag systems are as complex as they are important for safety. Many systems now monitor seat position and belt use or non-use to determine when and if an airbag deployment is needed in minor to moderate accidents to protect the occupant. With this ever increasing complexity, the ability to identify and prosecute airbag defect claims becomes more difficult.

Developing trends in airbag litigation reveal that airbag defects can come in many forms. Consumers and attorneys looking to evaluate the potential that an airbag defect played a role in their injuries should consider the possibility that the airbag failed to perform as intended.

Some of the more common airbag failures and defects are as follows:

Takata Exploding Inflator

2014 was a remarkable year in that we saw one of the largest vehicle recalls in history. The Takata airbag is used across many manufacturers in tens of millions of vehicles worldwide. A defect was uncovered that can cause some inflators to explode upon deployment, sending metal shrapnel through the bag and into the vehicle’s occupants.
While manufacturers had quietly been recalling vehicles with these airbags since 2008, the issue escalated into an international crisis in 2014 after the defect was linked to four deaths and dozens of injuries. Further, investigation showed that both Takata and some auto manufacturers had knowledge of the defect for years prior to any action being taken.

Inadvertent deployments of airbags

Sometimes an airbag will deploy or “fire” when it is not intended. An airbag deploying in the absence of an accident is a classic example of an inadvertent deployment, and can be the basis of a claim when significant injuries occur.

Late deployments of airbags

Airbags are intended to deploy within milliseconds of the airbag computer sensing that a crash of significant magnitude is occurring. However, sometimes due to sensor placement issues, faulty components, or airbag algorithm problems the airbag can deploy after it should. The result is that the occupant does not receive the protection intended until after the forces of the impact have already caused injuries that could have been prevented.

Failure of an airbag to deploy

Most manufactures design airbags to deploy in moderate to severe accidents. Airbags are neither needed nor desired in low speed accidents, as the forces required to deploy an airbag in time may do more harm than good when they are introduced in minor crashes. However, as airbags become more complex more and more fail to deploy situations are being seen. In these cases, consumers can sustain injuries that could have been prevented if the airbag would have fired as intended and designed.

As Airbag Defect attorneys we can help

If you suspect an airbag defect to be the cause of a serious injury or death, contact us for a free evaluation of your case. As airbag defect lawyers we have extensive experience in litigating accidents involving airbags, and stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear for consumers injured by defective airbags.

Rollover Accidents

SUV rollover accidents are among the most tragic types of vehicle accidents, killing 10,000 and injuring nearly 30,000 people each year. Although not as common as other accidents, SUV rollovers result in a disproportionate number of serious injuries and deaths annually. Considering the popularity of the SUV as a family vehicle, it is all the more critical that manufacturers do everything possible to prevent rollovers and related injuries.

Rollover accidents occur most often in SUVs, minivans and light trucks due to their higher center of gravity than traditional automobiles. However, through the incorporation of reasonable design alternatives that increase stability and prevent occupant injuries in the event a rollover occurs, many of the serious injuries and deaths that occur each year can be prevented.

We understand that when a rollover accident occurs, there are multiple potential legal claims and theories that need to be explored.

At the Didier Law Firm, we understand that when a rollover accident occurs, there are multiple potential legal claims and theories that need to be explored. Rollover cases are fact-specific, and it is first necessary to understand the exact cause of rollover itself. The includes an evaluation of numerous potential contributing factors such as: whether or not the inherent instability of the vehicle due to its design played a role; whether a tire failure or tread separation occurred; whether safety systems like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) were incorporated into the vehicle; or, whether any environmental factors or roadway issues played a role. Next, it is critical to understand how the occupant was injured, and what potential vehicle defects may have contributed to the injuries or death. Lastly, it is necessary to work with qualified experts to determine if reasonable design alternative existed when the vehicle was made that, if used, could have prevented the injuries or fatality. In looking at alternative designs, often the design and performance of the vehicle’s roof structures, restraint systems, airbag systems, door frames and latches and vehicle padding are considered and examined.

Because of the complex nature of rollover cases, and the wide variety of defect issues that must be examined, it is vitally important when a vehicle rollover accident occurs that proper steps are taken to preserve evidence that may be helpful in determining if the vehicle’s design was a contributing cause of the accident itself or resulting injuries. This includes preserving the vehicle, obtaining quality photographs of the scene and collecting any available evidence, and interviewing witnesses and law enforcement as soon as possible. Later, when considered by experts, this evidence can prove invaluable in establishing a case and refuting the all too common defense claim that the sole cause of the accident was driver error.

As Rollover attorneys we can help

Complex and multi-faceted cases are our specialty. The Didier Law Firm has extensive litigation experience in litigating rollover accidents involving stability theories, roof crush allegations, occupant protection issues, restraint system and seatback failures, and other related claims. As rollover lawyers we are here to help you evaluate and pursue claims stemming from rollover accidents. If you have questions about a rollover claim, contact us so that we may help.

Seatback Failures

Often the ability of an occupant to walk away from a serious rear-end accident depends on how well that occupant’s and seatback performed in the crash.

If the seatback fails in a rear-end accident it not only exposes the person in that seat to injury, but can lead to significant injuries for the persons or children seated in the rear.

While there is significant debate within the automotive industry about the best design for seatbacks to prevent injuries, there is consensus that seatbacks should not fail uncontrollably rearward.

Consumers are constantly reminded of the importance of wearing seatbelts to prevent injuries in frontal accident. However, in a rear-end accident it is the seatback that is critical to prevent injuries. Therefore, it is critical that the seatback be designed with sufficient structural integrity to keep occupants safely in place. If poor design choices are made, or safer alternative designs ignored, significant injuries can result.

As Seatback Failure attorneys we can help

If you suspect seatback failure to be the cause of a serious injury or death, contact us today for a free evaluation of your case. As seatback failure lawyers we have extensive experience in litigating accidents involving seatback failures, and stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear for consumers injured by a seatback failure.


Tire Failures

Since the massive recall of Bridgestone Firestone tires in the early 2000s, public awareness has been heightened with respect to the dangers posed by defective tires. Tire failure claims most often arise out of accidents that result from tread separations when the vehicle’s tread actually separates or peels off of the underlying carcass or body of the tire. When this occurs it can have dramatic effects on how a vehicle will react when the driver makes steering corrections to try to maintain control and can lead to lose of control and rollover accidents.

Studies show maintaining tire pressure, observing tire and vehicle load limits, avoiding road hazards and regular inspections are keys to avoiding tire failures.

Similarly, if properly maintained and inflated tires fail within their useful life, design or manufacturing defects may exist. As in most product cases, the first hours and days after an accident can make or break your ability to prove the facts in a tire failure case. By taking immediate action, you can protect your case. The following information details the critical first steps upon intake of a potential tire case:

Preserve the Scene and Evidence. Documentation is crucial for your expert in these types of cases, so it is vital you take the steps needed to fully document the evidence that will support your claim. Hire an investigator to photograph the scene as soon as possible after an accident involving a tire failure. Photographs should include yaw marks, gouge marks, and indentations on the ground. It is equally critical in these cases that steps are taken to find all of the pieces of tread that may have separated and to accurately document where they were found. Have a surveyor or engineer conduct a scene survey. This survey will be critical down the road for your accident reconstruction expert, as well as the design or manufacturing defect experts, to use in forming their opinions. It is also important to save all of the other tires on the vehicle at the time as they may provide valuable information.

Locate, Preserve and Move the Vehicle. The vehicle or vehicles involved will also be critical in proving the facts of your case, thus locate it and issue preservation letters to the possessor of the vehicle (e.g. a tow yard or property insurer) as soon as possible. Once the vehicle has been obtained for preservation, it must be moved to a covered, secure facility. Before taking possession and moving the vehicle, have your investigator take detailed photographs. It is important to transport any vehicle involved in an auto accident under investigation on a car carrier. Evidence vehicles should be kept at a safe storage facility or warehouse that is secure.

Interview The Witnesses. Eyewitness testimony can be key to proving the facts of your case. Interview the eyewitnesses as soon as possible after the crash. Videotaping the statements will provide the added benefit of testimony to be used during future depositions or at trial.

Hire an Experienced Tire Expert. Hire a skilled and reputable tire expert to conduct a forensic examination of the tire and other evidence gathered as part of your investigation. After examining the tire and facts, your expert should be able to tell you whether or not you have a case and the potential defenses that will likely arise.
Collaborate with an Experienced Tire Attorney. Finally, consult with a products liability attorney to who has experience in litigating tire cases, as such consultation or collaboration can often prove invaluable in navigating the unique obstacles in these cases.

As Tire Failure Attorneys we can Help

If you suspect tire failure to be the cause of a serious injury or death,contact Didier Law Firm today for a free evaluation of your case. As tire failure lawyers we have extensive experience in litigating car accidents involving tire failures, and stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear for consumers injured by a tire failure.


Trucking Accidents

Although trucking accidents account for a small percentage of traffic accidents, they account for a large percentage of traffic fatalities. Semi-truck and other large commercial truck accidents are oftentimes the result of carelessness on the part of the truck driver.

A classic cause of trucking accidents is driver fatigue, occurring when a driver overextends their time and service requirements to increase income. In such cases, the conduct of the driver and the company he may work for becomes paramount.

However, the analysis should not stop there. As in many cases, there are additional contributing causes of the accident that involve a complex analysis of the design, manufacture and maintenance of the truck itself.

In accidents involving trucks, the potential that the vehicle’s design, manufacture and maintenance must be considered.

Trucking is a regulated industry, and Federal and State regulations and guidelines must be considered. If the owner, leasing entity, contracted user or driver of the truck fail to comply with such mandates, including those of the Department of Transportation (DOT) for example, then liability on their part may well arise.

Because of the inherent danger to the driving public of trucks due to their sheer size and mass, rigid requirements exist with respect to the design and configuration of trucks to make them safe for operation. Additional maintenance requirements are placed on owners and operators to ensure that the vehicle’s key systems, such as the truck’s tires, brakes, hydraulics and lighting systems, are kept in proper working order. In accidents involving trucks, the vehicle’s design, manufacture and maintenance must be considered.

To fully evaluate a trucking accident case, we utilize a network of experts including investigators, automotive engineers and accident reconstructionists, who enable us to gather the evidence needed to determine the exact cause of the crash and the responsible party or parties. This evidence, coupled with our extensive trial experience, is then used to create a compelling jury argument against those responsible.

As Trucking Accident attorneys we can help

If you or someone you know has been involved in a trucking accident,contact us for a free evaluation of your case. As trucking accident lawyers we have extensive experience in litigating accidents involving large privately-owned or commercial trucking companies, and the manufacturers that make and sell the trucks themselves. We stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear for consumers injured in trucking accidents due to truck defects or related negligence.

Roadway Defects

Roadway defects can include such issues as improper design or lack of repair, which can lead to dangerous situations. Specifically, common roadway defects include low shoulders, uneven pavement, potholes, and lack of signage. Litigation of this type of case often involves multiple government agencies, which can complicate matters. However, pursuing legal action can be critical to affecting change, and necessary in order to save lives.

Unfortunately, roadway defects can lead to serious accidents resulting in severe injuries or even death. Construction companies and state, county, or municipal agencies should be held responsible for the consequences an accident caused by a road defect cause.

As Roadway Defect attorneys we can help

If you feel a roadway defect was the cause of a serious injury or death, contact us for a free evaluation of your case. As roadway defect lawyers we have extensive experience in litigating accidents involving unsafe, unmarked, or mismarked roads, and stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear for consumers injured by roadway defects.

Construction Zone Accidents

As many major highways these days were constructed in the mid twentieth century, work zones are a common sight today. Unfortunately, construction zones by their nature are inherently dangerous to both passing motorists and the workers who are involved in the construction In fact, U.S. Dept. of Transportation statistics show there were 87,606 crashes in work zones in 2010, or 1.6% of all accidents.

Dangers arise when normal roadway flow is obstructed or adjusted, and motorists are well advised to take every precaution while entering into construction zones. Construction zone accidents may be the result of signage and warning deficiencies, uneven road surface, unsafe re-routing, or other negligence.

As Construction Zone Accident lawyers we can help

Construction zone litigation will very likely involve defendants including local, state and federal agencies as well as one or more construction contractors. If you believe that a construction zone issue was the cause of an accident, please contact us to discuss your potential claim.

Guardrail Cases

Guardrails are specifically designed to prevent a vehicle from crossing the median, and, to reduce the impact and damage done if struck. If a guardrail is hit head-on at the end, it should absorb an impact by buckling and ribboning out to absorb the impact of the vehicle, bringing it to a stop. However, this isn’t always the case.

In 2014, the modified design of the Trinity Guardrail ET Plus, for instance, was found to be defective, and that the company hid evidence of testing that showed it had failed. The part of the guardrail at issue is the end terminal, or the “head” of the guardrail. Instead of absorbing the impact, the guardrail bends and can penetrate the vehicle like a spear, often leading to loss of limbs or death.

As Guardrail defect lawyers we can help

Complex cases require lawyers with vast experience in complex matters. The Didier Law Firm has extensive litigation experience in litigating accidents involving roadway defects and other related claims. As guardrail defect lawyers we are here to help you evaluate and pursue claims stemming from accidents in which the guardrail failed. If you have questions about a guardrail defect claim, contact us so that we may help.


Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex injury with a myriad of symptoms and disabilities, and the impact on the injured person and his or her family can be devastating. Brain injuries from car accidents can result from a direct blow to the head, or severe whiplash without direct impact. Resulting injuries often include a cerebral contusion, concussion, diffuse axonal injury, or other traumatic brain injury. With any of these types of injuries, early intervention can significantly increase chance of a better recovery.

The symptoms of a moderate to severe brain injury can include cognitive impairment (such as memory), attention-deficit issues, and serious behavioral problems, such as psychosis, depression, muscle movement disorders, and hostility. Treatment for these types of injuries is often difficult and cost prohibitive. Though many clients only see marginal brain improvement, an accurate diagnosis and quick treatment is critical.

While not every injury can be visible on standard tests, tools such as an MRI, PET scan or CAT scan will be used to get a clearer picture of the long-term prognosis. With a cerebral contusion, for instance, the swelling, pressure, and bruises may be located deep within the brain. As the cerebral contusion interrupts the communication between your brain and the rest of your body, symptoms ranging from headaches to slurred speech to emotional problems may last a lifetime.

Because of our long history litigating complex accidents, we have worked with brain injuries across the spectrum. We know that every brain injury is unique and includes a wide variety of symptoms and a large window of time in which the injuries may fully develop. Patients with a moderate or severe TBI should commence a rehabilitative program including occupational, physical and speech therapy.

As Traumatic Brain Injury lawyers we can help.

We have extensive experience with cases involving brain injuries and the complex accidents that often cause them. If you or a loved one have experienced a brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, please call the Didier Law Firm to discuss your legal case.


Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries, as with any severe injury, bring deep emotional trauma in addition to the physical toll they take. Of the estimated 11,000 spinal cord injuries that occur every year, up to 10,000 individuals are left permanently paralyzed, and many die. Sadly, spinal cord trauma is most often experienced by young and healthy individuals, leaving victims and their families to face many years of expenses and emotional trauma.

42% of spinal cord injuries are the result of a motor vehicle accident, though many of these injuries are also the result of a sports-related accident, fall or other sudden event. This type of injury affects the nerves that control both feeling and mobility which varies based upon which part of the spinal cord is damaged. A severe neck injury, for example, can lead to varying degrees of paralysis known as paraplegia, hemiplegia or quadriplegia. Spinal cord damage can also cause scar tissue on the spinal cord, spinal stenosis or pinched nerves, or other permanent and debilitating injuries that also must be considered.

Because we specialize in severe cases including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and severe bodily injuries, we know how to interact and work with physicians who specialize in treating these types of injuries. We understand the diagnostic tools used to properly diagnose and prove the permanency of the injury and the full extent of the loss. We work with skilled vocational rehabilitation specialists and economists to determine what future needs will be required and what it will cost before we would ever walk into a courtroom.

As Spinal Cord Injury lawyers we can help.

With both experience and compassion, the Didier Law Firm is ready to help you. We have extensive experience with cases involving spinal cord injuries and the complex accidents that often cause them. If you or a loved one have experienced a brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, please call the Didier Law Firm to discuss your legal case.


Medical Negligence

Because we want to be able to rely on and trust doctors and healthcare workers implicitly, cases involving medical negligence are particularly unsettling. The unfortunately reality is, millions of people are hurt each year as a result of mistakes made by physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers.

According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), surgery errors are the most common in-patient claim, accounting for about 34% of claims, and errors in diagnosis are the most common out-patient claim, at 46% of the total claims.

Failure to diagnose a medical issue in a proper or timely manner, misread test results, errors in performing procedures, inaccurate drug dosages and other problems all constitute medical negligence. Medical malpractice can encompass a wide array of issues, and its effects can be life threatening and long-term.

As Medical Negligence lawyers we can help.

If you suspect medical negligence to be the cause of a serious injury or death, contact Didier Law Firm today for a free evaluation of your case. As medical negligence lawyers we have extensive experience in litigating medical malpractice, and stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear for you.


Nursing Home Negligence

Nursing home negligence is a sad reality, and one that will likely continue to grow as our elder population grows. Nursing home negligence refers to a lack of attention to a patient’s physical or emotional needs, while nursing home abuse is defined by the intent to harm, either physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise.

A study by the minority (Democratic and Independent) staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, finds that 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States — 5,283 facilities — were cited for almost 9,000 instances of abuse over a recent two-year period, from January 1999 to January 2001.

The report lists common problems such as untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene. It is important for family members to remain vigilant to protect their loved ones in nursing home settings. Hidden cameras and frequent visits are among the ways that you can ensure those you care about are safe.

References: NHTSA Tire Safety: Everything Rides On It, DOT HS 361 809

As Nursing Home Negligence lawyers we can help

With experience and compassion, the Didier Law Firm is ready to help you. If you suspect a loved one is being neglected or abused, please call the Didier Law Firm to discuss your legal case.