Call us anytime, toll-free: (888) 808-5977


News & Commentary

Newsome Melton Auto Recall Round Up

Defective Seatbelts; Hyundai Recalls 978,000 Sonatas

            Seatbelts found in nearly one-million Hyundai vehicles can allegedly unfasten in a crash leading to a massive recall. The announcement affects the Hyundai Sonata sold under model years 2011 to 2014 and the Sonata hybrid from model years 2011 to 2015. Hyundai told authorities that during assembly the seatbelt anchor was not properly fastened and could detach in an accident. Only one injury has been reported at the time of the recall. Hyundai said that they will begin reaching out to affected owners in early April. (more…)

NHTSA Reports Another Uptick in Traffic Fatalities: Will Advanced Technology be the Solution or Cause More Problems?

NHTSA Reports Another Uptick in Traffic Fatalities: Will Advanced Technology be the Solution or Cause More Problems?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), US traffic fatalities in the first half of 2016 (17,775) represented a 10.4% increase from those reported in the first half of 2015 (16,100).  The second quarter of 2016 was the seventh consecutive calendar quarter of increases compared to the prior year’s quarter.

What makes these statistics even more alarming is the fact that the 10.4% fatality rise in 2016’s first half far exceeded the 3.3% growth in vehicle miles during that same period.

Read more

Self-Driving Vehicles and Federal Preemption

Tesla car, Tesla Motors, Tesla Model S, Autonomous Vehicles, Driverless Cars, Elon Musk

Yesterday, Tesla confirmed that the government is actively investigating the first reported fatality involving the company’s “auto-pilot” technology.  The fatal crash occurred on May 6 in Williston, Florida, claiming the life of former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown.  According to Tesla’s public statement about the crash, the car’s autopilot feature failed to notice the white side of a tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky.  As a result, the software failed to apply the brakes, and the car’s windshield struck the bottom of the trailer.

As we have previously written, “autonomous” or “self-driving” automotive technology has the capability to save lives, if implemented correctly.  A self-driving vehicle should theoretically perform better than a human driver if it operates according to a computer code that properly accounts for the surrounding environment and changes in traffic conditions.  However, when technology reaches the market before it is ready, software bugs and design flaws may go unnoticed until it is too late.  We’ve all had a computer crash unexpectedly.  Now imagine if that computer was supposed to be making the call as to when to apply the brakes during rush hour.

Well-developed negligence and strict products liability law already provide the best solution for those instances where self-driving technology fails and results in injury or death.  Under a negligence or strict liability theory, the manufacturer would be held accountable if a design defect caused or contributed to the crash.  The determination as to whether the software had a defect would, in turn, be made in the same manner that these kinds of determinations have always been made—by a civil jury.

Time and time again, the civil jury system has proven the best way to get to the truth in product defect cases.  Each and every automotive crash is unique, and the determination as to whether a product had a defect that played into a crash must necessarily be made only after carefully reviewing the circumstances of that particular crash.  The jury system allows for this type of case-by-case analysis to be conducted in open court, with each party having a fair opportunity to present their claims and defenses.

Unfortunately, auto manufacturers are now actively lobbying federal lawmakers to strip citizens of their rights to a jury trial should they find themselves in the same predicament as the Brown family.  Their weapon of choice in this regard is federal preemption.  Specifically, they are seeking what could be an often-times insurmountable defense whereby regulations implemented by Washington bureaucrats would forever trump the right of any individual citizen involved in a self-driving vehicle crash from seeking relief in the courts.

Earlier this year, the US Department of Transportation announced that it was working on guidance with respect to self-driving vehicle technology.  Since then, both the DOT and the Senate have held hearings in Washington to address the issue.  The DOT guidance is supposed to be released sometime this month.

Stay tuned.  We will continue to monitor and provide updates on the key legal and regulatory battles with respect to self-driving vehicles as they unfold.

Read more

Chrysler Rollaway Tragedy Highlights Problems with Emerging Car Technology

Orlando Product Liability & Consumer Justice Law Firm, Lawyers & Attorneys Near Me, Orlando Florida Attorneys, Find a Lawyer, Attorney Search

The untimely death of young actor Anton Yelchin, whose 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled away and pinned him against a brick pillar, has highlighted yet another major recall addressing yet another major automotive safety defect. Specifically, the investigation into Mr. Yelchin’s death is now focusing on whether the shifter defect at the heart of Chrysler’s […]

Read more

Seat Back Collapse Litigation: Alive and Well

Local Lawyers & Attorneys, Lawyers & Attorneys Near Me

During the past several months, our firm has reviewed several new potential cases involving seat back collapse. These cases all involved relatively late model vehicles where the seat backs collapsed in a moderate speed rear end crash, resulting in severe spinal cord injuries. Seat back collapse litigation has been ongoing between injured consumers and the […]

Read more

The Takata Airbag Defect: What Florida’s Consumer Advocates Need to Know. – William C. Ourand, Esq.

Takata Update, Takata News, Deployed Airbag, Takata Airbag Scandal, Takatagate, Florida Airbag Attorney, Orlando Airbag Lawyer, Orlando Product Liability Lawyers

Florida is the “epicenter” of the Takata airbag debacle which has resulted in the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. Unfortunately, all signs indicate that the severe injuries and deaths will continue into the foreseeable future. The roadways remain flooded with millions of vehicles which may still be equipped with the potentially lethal airbags. Moreover, […]

Read more

NHTSA Announces Expanded Takata Airbag Recalls

This afternoon Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced an expansion of the number of vehicles recalled for defective airbags. Previously, approximately 16 million vehicles were voluntarily recalled by manufacturers due to defective Takata airbags. Today, Foxx and the NHTSA announced that Takata agreed to expand the recall to include almost 34 million vehicles and admit […]

Read more

Michelin Steer Tire Failures under Investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation has opened a rare tire defect investigation into the Michelin XZA 2 Energy tires, used primarily for tractor-trailer applications, particularly those configured as auto haulers. The Preliminary Evaluation, a low-level inquiry, is based on six complaints in NHTSA’s Vehicle Owner Questionnaires database, going back to 2012.

Read more

Free Case Evaluation

Contact one of our legal experts and get a prompt review of your case.

  • Name
  • Phone
  • State
  • Case Description

All fields are required.

Over $584.6 million dollars recovered

No fees until you are compensated

Strength, Experience and Compassion

Follow us to get the latest updates of our doings

201 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1500 Orlando, Florida

Call us toll-free, anytime:
(888) 808-5977