The largest automotive recall in U.S. history still has motorists wondering if their Takata airbags will explode and shoot shrapnel through their vehicles. But, another set of unsuspecting motorists might not know they’re in danger.
The number of injuries from trucking crashes in alarming, and unfortunately on the rise. From 2009 to 2016, trucking crash injuries increased from 74,000 to 145,000 – an overwhelming 96 percent increase.
Missouri senators are rushing to pass legislation under the guise of “tort reform,” according to a recent blog by Langdon & Emison partner Mark Emison. According to Emison, these tort reform bills protect corporations from being sued by citizens who are injured or killed by their defective products.
This fall marked the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court argument in Baker v. General Motors, and a news piece that aired this fall on several broadcast affiliates takes a look at this precedential case. Baker was a Langdon & Emison victory described as influential in the law because it provided an answer to the question of whether expert testimony could be called upon from former employees.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released its 2017 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics. The guide is a compilation of data from the overall state of the industry to enforcement activity. The Pocket Guide incorporates and replaces the one-page data summaries, “Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts,” which were published occasionally over the past 10 years.
Takata has finally pleaded guilty to deceiving automakers about the safety of its airbags. This week's guilty plea by Takata in federal court, as well as the new accusations against automakers in a separate lawsuit, show that legal proceedings in the airbag scandal continue to move forward.
Langdon & Emison partner Brett Emison recently published an article, "Screening for Auto Defects" in the November 2016 issue of Trial magazine, an American Association for Justice publication. Emison works routinely with attorneys across the United States to evaluate catastrophic injury and death cases for potential auto product defects.
"When handling auto crash cases, you must be diligent and identify all potential failures that resulted in injury--an auto defect may result in more serious injuries than would have occurred otherwise," Emison said.
In most cases, drivers carry only the minimum auto insurance that their states require, ranging from only $15,000 to $50,000. In these instances, negligent drivers are vastly underinsured, highlighting the critical importance of carefully evaluating every motor vehicle crash for a potential auto product defect.
According to Emison, there are four scenarios to consider when evaluating whether an auto defect contributed to an injury or death:
· A minor collision at residential speeds results in catastrophic injury or death.
· A single occupant is severely injured or killed while other occupants suffer minor, if any, injuries.
· Failure of or severe damage to a localized area of the vehicle.
· Seat-belted occupants are seriously injured or ejected.
The work conducted within the first few days or weeks after a client contacts an attorney is crucial for successfully identifying a product defect. Emison describes several types of auto defects that can contribute to a serious injury, including defective seatbacks, fuel-fed fires and defective tires.
“Every trial lawyer should screen an auto crash for potential auto defect claims,” Emison said. “You often can conduct an initial review with only an accident report and few photographs, though additional follow-up may be required.”
View Emison’s full article here, or listen to him talk about identifying auto product defect claims in this video.
About Brett Emison
Brett A. Emison is a partner at Langdon & Emison where his practice focused almost exclusively on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as class action and other complex tort cases. His experience and expertise spans an array of personal injury litigation, including auto product defects; railroad crossing accidents; trucking accidents; and defective drugs and medical devices. Mr. Emison is a member of the American Association for Justice Leaders Forum. Brett also serves on AAJ’s Publications Committee; PAC Board of Trustees; and its National Finance Council. Because of his vast experience, he is regularly published in national trade publications on product liability and other contemporary legal topics.
About Langdon & Emison
Langdon & Emison is recognized as one of the nation’s leading personal injury law firms, having taken on some of the world’s largest corporations on behalf of injured people and their families in courtrooms from coast to coast. Langdon & Emison represented the plaintiff in Baker vs. General Motors, a landmark lawsuit where for the first time evidence was admitted into court proving an automaker’s deliberate choice of profits over human safety. With offices in Lexington and Kansas City (Mo.), St. Louis, and Chicago, the firm has earned a national reputation as a leader in auto defect cases, trucking accidents and a full array of personal injury litigation.