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California Auto Defects Lawyers File Wrongful Death Action Against General Motors, Seat-Belt Manufacturer and Car Dealer

Newport Beach, CA (PRWEB) June 29, 2009

The California personal injury attorneys of Bisnar Chase have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against General Motors, GMC Truck Division; Takata Restraint Systems, a seat-belt manufacturer; and Dave Smith Motors, a Kellog, Wyoming car dealer. The suit alleges that General Motors and co-defendants acted in a callous and reckless disregard for the safety of Joanna Campbell who died in a rollover accident while riding in a GMC SUV. Filed on behalf of Paula Savino for the surviving adult children of the deceased, Nicole and Aaron Savino, the action seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Rollover Caused Partial Ejection and Death

According to court records, on July 10, 2007, Carmen L Todd lost control of her 2002 GMC Yukon Denali on Interstate 90 in Wyoming. The SUV rolled over in a roof-crush accident, causing Joanna Campbell to be partially ejected. The force of Campbell's head coming into contact with vehicle components and/or the road caused a severe skull fracture and ultimately her death. "We're alleging that General Motors, Takata Seat Belts, and Dave Smith Motors manufactured, sold, marketed and failed to inspect and warn Ms. Todd, Ms. Campbell and other owners of this SUV of its defective and unsafe restraint system," said John Bisnar of the Bisnar Chase Auto Products Liability Law Firm.

Weak Pillars/Windshield Headers and Roof Rails, Defective, Unsafe Window System

The lawsuit further claims that the vehicle's pillars/windshield headers and roof rails lacked sufficient strength and structural integrity to withstand the roof crushing forces to protect occupants during a foreseeable rollover accident. The lawsuit also contends that the vehicle's defective and unsafe window system did not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, failed to reduce injuries resulting from the impact and failed to restrain Ms. Campbell during this rollover crash.

General Motors May Have Ignored Recommendations as Far Back as 1970

As far back as 1970, it was known that using unsupported tempered glass in the side and rear windows had been contributing to serious occupant ejection problems in side-impact and rollover car accidents. Defendants had seen or participated in Ford Technical Paper warning that the increased use of unsupported tempered side glass has resulted in more partial and complete occupant ejection through a vehicle's side glass areas. A substantial metal framework and laminated glass, similar to that used in current American windshields (or ejection resistant glazing) was recommended.

Repeated Warnings from NHTSA Ignored

In 1984, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advised General Motors that ejection through unsupported glass areas accounted for about 60 percent of all ejections. Moreover, NHTSA reported that their own dynamic rollover tests demonstrated that a modified frame, along with either laminated windshield-type glass or other glass-plastic glazing could eliminate most ejections through glass openings. "GM received and/or participated in these NHSTA studies," noted John Bisnar.

Safety Improvements Projected to Reduce Driver Deaths by 86%, Passenger Deaths by 90%

In 1996, NHTSA presented detailed test data, cost analysis and manufacturing lead-time data on several alternative designs that included alternative glazing proposals, estimating the reduction in fatalities and incapacitating injuries that would result from alternative designs with improved glazing. For rollover accident fatalities, an 86% reduction in deaths was projected for the driver and a 90% reduction in deaths for passengers.

Advanced Glazing Systems Could Have Saved 500 to 1,300 Lives Annually

In August 1999, NHTSA published another report that alternative window system designs with either laminated glass or other advanced glazing systems would reduce annual fatalities by 500 to 1,300 each year. In August 2001, NHTSA published a report that provided General Motors with the evaluation and testing of four different alternative designs for window/door/glazing systems. Preliminary estimates showed the incremental production costs would amount to just $48 to $79 per vehicle.

The lawsuit is pending in the State of Wyoming District Court, Sixth Judicial District, case # 29962.

About Bisnar Chase

Bisnar Chase California Auto Defect Attorneys represent people throughout the country who have been very seriously injured or lost a family member due to motor vehicle defects. The law firm has won a variety of challenging auto defect cases against General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Chrysler and many of the foreign manufacturers. For more information, please visit http://www.bestattorney.com and http://www.ProductDefectNewsAndAdviceBlog.com .

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