Product Defects and the Volkswagen Scandal

  • July 15, 2016 @ 8:20 pm
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Product Defects and the Volkswagen Scandal

When Volkswagen admitted to cheating on emissions tests, many consumers were shocked. While it’s become common knowledge that many car manufacturers tip the scales in their favor during MPG testing, Volkswagen’s emission scandal was still a surprise to those who had invested in their clean diesel vehicles, as well as those of us who take manufacturers at their word. After all, if a company like Volkswagen could trick out their cars to fool tests, what else might they be capable of?

The car industry has been beset by different minor scandals throughout the past couple of decades. From bankruptcy to faulty brakes, there always seems to be something going on. More recently, Jeep owners were shocked to learn about a faulty shifter that may have lead to the death of an actor. What may have been more shocking to many owners is that the shifter had been recalled the previous year.

Other than the amount of investment it takes to purchase a car and keep it running and insured, what makes these cases so shocking to consumers?

Product Defects Break Consumer Trust

Product defects don’t just lead to injuries, they also break consumer trust. While companies can say they will rectify an issue or claim that a problem is only in one specific model or vehicle, it’s difficult to believe when product defects keep occurring. When purchasing a car or other item, the consumer is trusting the manufacturer to deliver a safe item that has been tested and advertised correctly. Issues such as faulty brakes, poor shifter interfaces, and emissions bypasses make consumers feel like they’re being lied to and/or stolen from.

While the Volkswagen scandal has not lead to any known injuries, other car manufacturers have not been so lucky. As previously stated, a faulty Jeep shifter has recently been blamed for an actor’s death. Running a google search will show multiple fatalities from faulty brakes, tires, and airbags. But what exactly can a consumer do?

Keep an Eye (or Ear) Out for Recalls

If you get most of your news online, make sure to click through in articles detailing recalls, whether for frozen food, shifters, or cribs. If you’re a 6 o’clock news person, keep your ears open for any description of recalled items and check the web if it sounds like something you have or use. Many recalls aren’t publicized, though places selling the items will post signs. If you’ve been injured because of a faulty item that has or has not been recalled, speaking to a Tampa product defect lawyer can help you better understand your rights.

Consulting with a Tampa Product Defect Lawyer

When a faulty product has lead to serious injury or to the death of a loved one, consulting with a Tampa product defect lawyer can inform you of your legal options. Personal injury law allows for injured parties to sue manufacturers of defective products that have caused them harm. Plaintiffs must illustrate that their injuries are a direct result of normal use of the defective product, that the product was defective when they received it (i.e. it was not altered), and that the manufacturer was negligent or deceptive in the design, manufacturing, or advertising of the product.

Even with modern testing methods, faulty products end up on the shelves. In the past couple of years, everything from frozen peas to peanut butter, cribs, and tires have been recalled. Many of these recalls come after injuries have been reported. Others, while proactive, may still leave defective products in the hands of consumers.

One thing that isn’t spoken about much is that coming forward about a defective product is in the public good. It serves to notify the manufacturer of their mistake and to alert other consumers so they can either avoid injury or share their stories. Speaking to a Tampa product defect lawyer can be the first step in recovering damages for your injury, and it can help protect others.