What Would A New Takata Airbag Settlement Mean For Car Owners?

For years now, airbag maker Takata has been dealing with the fallout of the faulty airbag inflator modules it designed for Honda and several other automobile manufactures. These defective airbags could sometimes explode during an auto accident sending shrapnel flying at a driver or passenger.
Now, after an investigation by the Department of Justice and a bankruptcy filing, Takata is attempting to set aside a fund for consumers who were injured by their airbags. One new issue that is currently in discussion is how those injured by a Takata airbag will get compensation. Takata is looking to set up a “channeling injunction” that directs future claims to a shared bankruptcy trust for compensation.
This kind of injunction has been before in the asbestos settlements of the 1990s, but setting up a similar structure for a different type of injury case has not been tried since. Currently, a court in Delaware is working on deciding how and if Takata will be allowed to set up such a channeling injunction.
If you or a loved one were hurt by an exploding Takata airbag, you may want to consider contacting an attorney sooner rather than later, because depending on what the Delaware court decides, the rules and procedures for making a claim may soon change drastically.


Dodge Issues Recall for Over A Million Ram Pickups

Earlier this month, Dodge announced that it would be recalling more than a million of its Ram pickup trucks after it discovered problems with the systems that control the trucks' airbags and seatbelts.
It seems that after a hard bump, such as when one of these trucks bottoms out, the computers that manage the safety systems in Ram trucks made between 2013 and 2016 can lock up while processing an unrelated error code. This can cause those critical systems to become unresponsive when they are needed most.
This computer problem can be temporarily fixed by turning an affected truck off and back on again, but that hardly helps in the middle of an accident. So far at least one death has been linked to this computer problem, and Dodge is moving quickly to issue fixes for the trucks in question.
If you or a loved one were injured in a vehicle accident and you think that a vehicle defect may have been to blame, get in touch with us at once.


Replacement Auto Parts Can Be Dangerous


One of the largest, most expensive auto parts recalls in recent memory has taken on a new twist. Airbags made by the Takata corporation were installed in a variety of U.S. automobiles including those sold by Honda. These Takata airbags have been proven to explode and throw life threatening shrapnel towards drivers and passengers. Auto manufacturers have been in recall mode for multiple years now, trying to replace the faulty airbags in all of their vehicles. Unfortunately, those extensive efforts have so far not been enough. This is especially true when taken alongside a new story reported by the LA Times.
We are now seeing a new, worrying trend with these defective Takata airbags and other replacement parts: They are being inadvertently salvaged from the vehicles they originally shipped in and are being used as replacement parts in newer cars. Worse, there are no regulations or laws that prevent this from happening. That is, it is completely legal for a junkyard or repair shop to reuse recalled parts, like these dangerous Takata airbag systems, in newer vehicles.
What this means is that the parts being used to fix your car after an accident could be on lists that both the automaker and government knows are dangerous or even deadly, but there is nothing to stop it from happening. In many cases, your local repair shop may not even know to check to make sure the replacement parts they are using weren’t taken from vehicles on a recall list. Even checking government recall websites won’t be helpful in most cases, because while your car might not be on a recall list, a replacement part from a different car might have been, and that’s just as dangerous.
How does one stay safe if replacement parts can come from anywhere? The best way, currently, is to check to see if your used car has previously been in a crash and have your local auto shop check to make sure the replacement parts that were likely used were not subject to any recalls.


The Airbag In Your Car May Not Be Safe

The Airbag In Your Car May Not Be Safe

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We rely upon advanced safety features like crumple zones, seat belts, and air bags to protect us in the event of a car crash. But what if one of those safety features was itself a serious danger? It turns out that some driver and passenger airbags used by twelve different U.S. automakers are just that. These airbags, made by Japanese parts manufacture Takata, have been linked to at least eight deaths and dozens of injuries so far.
Even when it is working properly, the deployment of an airbag is not a gentle process. During a crash, a series of chemicals beneath the dash or steering wheel of your car are electronically ignited causing a rapid release of gases that inflate the airbag in time to soften your impact. In vehicles with the affected Takata airbag systems, however, heat, moisture, or other types of damage sometimes causes those explosive chemicals to react more violently than intended. In the worst cases, metal fragments from the airbag assembly were shot towards drivers or passengers much like a bullet out of a gun. In one early airbag related death, trained investigators even initially thought they were looking at a gun related murder and not a manufacturing defect.
Takata first knew of the potential flaws in their airbags as far back as 2004 and did not report any problems or begin recalls until late in 2008. Even then, the company tried to keep car safety officials in the dark by claiming multiple times that various problems in their manufacturing processes had been identified and fixed. But serious problems apparently lingered on since Takata just announced a deal with U.S. regulators that saw the company agree to a $70 million fine. It also agreed to phase out airbag units using the ammonium nitrate propellants it has long declared were safe.
The list of cars affected by these dangerous airbags stretches as far back as the year 2000 to as recently as 2014 and spans twelve U.S. auto manufacturers. Many automakers have announced various recalls—a list can be found on National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s website.
If you think you or a loved one has been injured by one of these defective airbags, the team at Martin Walker Law can help. We have years of experience bringing automotive and product liability cases to trial for our clients in East Texas.  Get a free case evaluation by calling us at 903-526-1600, by emailing us at info@martinwalkerlaw.com, or by using our Contact page.


Why Volkswagen's Cheating May Come Back To Haunt You

Why Volkswagen's Cheating May Come Back To Haunt You

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On September 18, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency made a stunning announcement that may be the downfall of one of the world’s biggest automakers, and, more importantly, may eventually hit you in the pocket book and even affect your health. The E.P.A. concluded that almost 500,000 Volkswagen diesels sold in the United States between 2009 and 2015 would have to be recalled and fixed after it was found that the car maker had developed special engine software designed to let its cars cheat their way past mandatory U.S. emissions testing. When one of the affected cars was put through the usual test it would reduce its engine’s power and change the way it dealt with engine exhaust thus allowing it to meet the required standards.  But, out on the open road, away from the controlled environments of testing labs, cars with these Volkswagen diesel engines would, and do, put out 40x more pollutants. Already, Volkswagen faces the challenge of an expensive U.S. recall, and potentially billions of dollars in U.S. fines, but that may only be the tip of the iceberg. The car company sold 11 million such cheating cars worldwide and you can be sure Europe, among others, will have something to say to the German automaker soon.
What does this mean for you? Two things:

  1. Your VW may soon be worth a lot less. If you bought a diesel powered Jetta, Golf, Beetle, Passat, or Audi A3 any time between the 2009 and 2015 model years your car may be subject to the upcoming recall. The problem is, VW doesn’t yet know how exactly it will fix the affected cars. When they run normally they put out unacceptable levels of pollution, but if they run in the cleaner cheating mode their engines operate at lower power levels and in ways that some say may actually cause engine damage over the longer term. End result? There may not be an easy fix, and what fix is possible might result in cars that don’t perform as well as they used to. Some speculate that the resell values of VW diesels may drop off a cliff because of this scandal. After all, who wants to buy a used car that either pollutes too much or has too little power?
  2. Exhaust from your VW may be more harmful than you realized. One of the main things the affected VW engines did while cheating was drastically reduce the amount of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) released into the air. During normal everyday use one of these cars puts out up to 40 times more NOx than allowed by the clean air act. NOx is known to be a contributor to climate change and ozone layer destruction and is a hazardous gas that can cause various respiratory and breathing problems.
    Now, not only is your VW diesel soon to be subject to a nationwide recall that may result in worse driving performance and a drop in resell value, it may also be harming your health and the environment.

At Martin Walker Law, our team has significant experience in both Product Liability and Personal Injury cases. If you have questions about this Volkswagen emissions scandal or related issues you can contact us at 903-526-1600, by emailing us at info@martinwalkerlaw.com, or by using the Contact page of our website


Chinese-made Laminate Flooring Claims Dangerous Levels of Formaldehyde

Lumber Liquidators Claims Dangerous Levels of Formaldehyde in Hardwood Flooring.


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Chinese-made Laminate Flooring Claims.

If you have hardwood laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators, you may have a product emitting dangerous levels of formaldehyde in your home.
According to a recent program run by CBS’s 60 Minutes, Lumber Liquidators Chinese-made laminate flooring may fail to meet health and safety standards because it exceeds regulated limits on formaldehyde content, as high as 20 x the legal limit.
Formaldehyde is found in the cheap glues in the Chinese-made laminate flooring, used to bind the wood particles together to make the boards. The formaldehyde leaks into the air causing homes to become polluted.


Formaldehyde is found in the cheap glues in the Chinese-made laminate flooring, used to bind the wood particles together to make the boards. The formaldehyde leaks into the air causing homes to become polluted.
Chronic formaldehyde exposure is a known carcinogen, linked to chronic respiratory irritation, changes in lung function, increased risk of asthma. Repeated inhalation is associated with nasal and nasopharangeal cancer. Children are especially susceptible.
It’s believed that hundreds of thousands of homes, nationwide, have this Chinese-made laminate flooring.

Call Martin Walker, P.C. today 903-526-1600 to find out if you have a claim.