Defective used or rental cars can cause deadly car accidents
When Missouri and Illinois consumers purchase products, they have an expectation that they will be reasonably safe for their use. Few things are as exciting to purchase as a new car or truck, even if the “new” vehicle is actually used. Many people also enjoy renting cars to go on road trips or vacations. Whatever the case, those who buy or rent motor vehicles do not expect them to be subject to dangerous product recalls and yet still marketed to unsuspecting consumers. The tragic reality is that consumers who do not know about these defective used or rental cars may very well find themselves the victims of serious or even deadly car accidents.
This is what sadly ended the life of two young women back in 2004, when they were riding in a Chrysler PT Cruiser which had been rented from Enterprise. The rental car juggernaut apparently tried to blame the fatal collision between the girl’s much smaller vehicle and a tractor-trailer on the 24-year-old driver, claiming that she may have been high on drugs or suicidal. The two girls’ family succeeded in the wrongful death lawsuit they brought against Enterprise in 2010, and were awarded a $15 million judgment.
Reportedly, the PT Cruiser had been subject to a safety malfunction — which Enterprise knew about but failed to repair. Because of this fact, the sisters’ vehicle unexpectedly swerved out of control, crossed into oncoming traffic on a highway and slammed into the much larger semi-truck. Missouri and Illinois residents may expect this to be a one-time tragedy, but it is something that could happen at any moment to anyone.
The reason for this very real danger is that federal regulation does not currently prohibit car dealers or rental companies from putting vehicles with known safety defects or which are under safety recalls out on American roadways. Some government officials are attempting to pass legislation that would make this illegal, but they have not yet had success in getting such bills through Congress. Of course, with the controversy surrounding the GM scandal — in which it was discovered that the car company failed to repair or replace over 2.6 million defective ignition switches for many years — these types of bills may prove more successful in the future.
One method used to better the chances of safety legislation like this passing is for consumers to mount public pressure. Sometimes, that pressure can come in the form of wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits in civil courts. Successful civil lawsuits can often hit companies where it hurts the most — directly in their pocketbooks. Increasing public awareness of safety dangers like this can also put more pressure on government officials who are reluctant to pass stricter laws which could save many lives each year.
Victims of accidents due to defective used or rental cars — or their surviving relatives in the event of fatalities — have the right to pursue civil legislation against car dealers or rental companies if the company failed to repair a vehicle before sending it out on the road. Succeeding at such legislation often requires an understanding of applicable laws and experience in trying such cases. My St. Louis personal injury law firm has this experience in trying personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Please call us toll-free at 1-888-586-7041 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss whether we can help you. We take the cases we accept on a contingency basis, meaning clients pay us nothing until we collect money for them.
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Source Article: “New ‘Used’ Cars and Rentals May Have Serious Safety Problems” by Paul A. Eisenstein.