Car accidents

In January 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the United States ordered Toyota Motor Corporation to withdraw 2.3 million Toyota, Lexus, Pontiac and 9 million cars worldwide in America due to problems with the gas pedal falling down. The auto giant also had to pay a fine in the amount of $ 16.375 million for an untimely statement about production problems that threaten the safety of passengers. Later in June of the same year, the American concern GM had to withdraw 1.3 million cars in America and 1.5 all over the world. A defect in the system called HotShot has been detected in these machines. At the moment, five fires have occurred due to a malfunction of this system.

Due to this kind of production malfunction in the United States, over the past three years alone, various manufacturers had to withdraw 23.5 million cars. The fact is that when developing a new model of a machine, this or that mechanism and detail are not always perfect. In this case, technical safety tests may show that the part may work with inaccuracies under certain conditions. Since it is impossible to improve and conduct technical safety tests indefinitely, the company turns to experts in risk assessment. If they conclude that the likelihood that a consumer may experience technical safety problems due to an unreliable machine part is insignificant, the new model of the Achilles heel car will be put into mass production.

A malfunction can manifest itself in the loss of one of the functions of the comfort of the car, say heating the seat, and can lead to serious consequences in the form of an accident. For the first case, a manufacturer with dealers has a “secret guaranty” system tested in the USA and in the rest of the world, which gives the manufacturer a chance to satisfy complaints of the disgruntled auto-owner without a trial, and in the latter case the manufacturer can only hope for legal illiteracy of the victim.

NHTSA conducts regular reviews of safety data on new models of cars, but the main reason for the investigations and the above-mentioned reviews is the victims complains or claims against the manufacturer. So, in this respect, the role of the auto-owner is very large. Relying on international experience, it can be said without exaggeration that it depends on the legal awareness and active position of each victim how much money and effort will be made by those responsible in ensuring the technical safety of the auto production and service processes.

In the United States, court decisions on claims for compensation for damage caused due to the production deffects  have often caused significant damage or bankruptcy of the manufacturer.

For example, on July 10, 1999, in Anderson, Tigner v. G.M., due to a manufacturing defect of the machine manufactured by General Motors Corporation, a car accident occurred, as a result of this, passengers received many heavy bodily injuries. A jury ordered General Motors Corporation to pay $ 4.9 billion in damages to 6 injured people. Meanwhile, General Motors Corporation’s 1998 revenue was $ 3 billion, almost 2 billion less than the compensation payment. US courts are amazing with the largest compensation payments.  In the Anglo-American legal system the compensation is punitive (Punitive Damages). That is why in the USA the side of the victim can recover from the defendant compensation in excess of the actual amount of damage from 10 to 40 times. In continental European law, compensation is only of an equivalent-compensated nature, i.e. reimburse as much as they hurt. There is no need to emphasize that in Russia the size of compensation is several times lower than European payments (although Russia is included in the continental-European law system). The reason is that the monetary equivalent of the life and health of a Russian person remains scanty, despite attempts to reform this area. It is logical that in these conditions, it is beneficial for a motorist who is injured in an accident to be sued in the USA when there is a reason for this. In the period of globalization, more and more victims from around the world have resorted to this practice. For example, the Cervantes case against US parts manufacturers Bridgestone / Firestone N. Am. Tire Co., LLC, or the J. Cruz case against American tire manufacturer Cooper Tire & Rubber Company.

Although there are a considerable number of cars of the American manufacturer, General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, on the Russian roads, judging by the statistics, the Russian motorist does not use the opportunity to receive due compensation for damage. First of all, this state of affairs is caused by a lack of information about such a legal mechanism. Basically, in cases of accidents a priori its cause is the human factor, as a rule, the “guilty” one of the drivers, allegedly he did not cope with the control, and after all, the real reason that led to loss of control could be a manufacturing defect. But to consider such a version of the accident to the participants of the accident seems to be too “distant and difficult” perspective, it seems more practical for them to sue “here and now”, be it with another participant of the accident, with the insurance company and even with the traffic police.

But having enough information about the possibility and advantages of filing a lawsuit in a US court, I think our reader if we recall that the Anglo-American courts are considered to be the most generous in respect of compensation for economic and moral damage, and we will definitely recommend the whole jurisdiction of the United States. disassembly of the causes of accidents and when there is reason to file a claim against the overseas manufacturer.

In conclusion, I would like to wish that the topic of the accident would not affect our reader, but if all the same happened, we hope this article will be of great benefit.