The evolution of automobile technology has meant improvements for passenger safety. Seatbelts, airbags, and design have all contributed to a reduction in the number of serious injuries suffered by passengers. Though overall safety concepts have reduced the likelihood of injury or death, one new feature has been linked to injury, deaths, and is the target of several lawsuits.
Several victims have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning allegedly linked to sitting in their parked cars left on inadvertently in the garage. Post-mortem investigations revealed that the cars were equipped with a key fob device that starts the car by an electrical signal rather than a key. Our Charleston wrongful death attorneys are experienced in helping victims of accidents, injury and wrongful death recover compensation after an injury or fatality.
Using an electronic key start can be convenient and even helpful in the event of an emergency; however, these reports indicate that such devices might also be dangerous. According to recent reports, several Americans have been killed by carbon monoxide poisoning after their vehicles started automatically in the garage.
A key fob can turn on a vehicle from inside a house or if the button is accidentally pushed from inside a pocket or purse. This means that a car could turn on and start running from inside a garage, which may cause the fumes to enter the home. This is dangerous because many car owners will not hear the vehicle start. Victims of carbon monoxide poisoning have been found inside the home — the fumes are coming from the garage.
Though the report of deaths nationwide remains low, families of victims want answers. They also want to hold automobile manufacturers responsible for the accidental deaths. Many families are seeking changes to design to prevent future injury. This could be difficult, especially as the design has grown in popularity and continues to be an added feature in newer vehicles. Automobile manufacturers also continue to assert that the devices are safe for use.
In the event of an injury or accident, victims may be entitled to compensation from all liable parties. Automobile manufacturers can be held civilly liable for negligence, including defects in manufacturing that can result in serious injury or wrongful death. Manufacturers may also be held liable to warn of dangerous products or of potential risks to consumers.
Manufacturers and many users of key-less ignition devices assert that the feature is convenient and can be especially beneficial to users in colder climates or when a driver is holding bags or packages. Though the car feature can be a convenience, injured consumers also believe that the convenience is not worth the risk.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, there are 147 carbon monoxide poisoning deaths every year; however it is unknown how many of those deaths are related to the keyless ignition feature. Safety advocate believe that the number of keyless ignition accidental deaths are on the rise and they will continue to pose a risk so long as they are installed in the vehicles. Currently, victims and their families are pursuing class-action claims against automobile manufacturers, including Toyota.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.
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Elderly at High Risk of North Carolina Pedestrian Accidents, Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Blog, April 29, 2013