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Auto Product Liability Discovered In 1995 Dodge Caravan Lethal Airbag

Most auto product liability attorneys are aware of the dangerous product liability posed by the 1995 Dodge Caravan. In 1995, Jose Liz Crespo was in Puerto Rico driving his rented 1995 Dodge Caravan the wrong way down a steep private drive and struck an oncoming vehicle head on. His son, 5-year-old Michael Liz Crespo, was riding as a passenger in the front seat and was not wearing his seatbelt. Neither were two other children in the car. Upon impact, the Caravan's air bag deployed, striking the Michael in the chin and neck, damaging his spinal cord, and causing suffocation and death.

The Crespo family sued Daimler Chrysler and the motor vehicle defect attorney for the boy's family called the air bag system in the minivan "defective and unreasonably dangerous." Daimler Chrysler disagreed, insisting that its air bags, which are set to fire at impacts of 8 to 14 m.p.h. or greater, were designed to meet strict safety standards required by law and which have been recommended by safety experts. It also produced medical experts to argue that the child would not have died if he had only been wearing his seat belt.

"Claiming that the victim was not seat belted is the standard-issue defense automakers cling to in faulty air bag cases," noted nationally recognized auto defects attorney, John Bisnar. "Hiding behind weak federal safety standards is another ploy. Consumers should be made aware that some air bag systems use car crash sensors that needlessly trigger in minor low-speed car crashes of only 7 to 15 miles per hour, while safer designs trigger in car collisions above 15 or 18 mph. Other car crash sensors, sometimes mounted on brackets attached to the radiator shroud near the car's headlights, can sometimes generate a false signal of a more significant impending car accident, causing the airbag to inflate when it shouldn't."

After four days of deliberations, a Federal jury in Manhattan declared that Daimler Chrysler was 50% responsible for Michael Liz Crespo's fatal defective airbag product, and awarded the boy's family $750,000.

Daimler Chrysler associates general counsel called the juries decision unfortunate, saying that they let their emotions cloud their judgment. They insisted that Daimler Chrysler met the regulations, that the air bag system was properly designed and concluded, "every air bag in the country must be defective" because the rest of the industry uses the same speed threshold to deploy them.

"Industry and government safety experts admit that air bags pose a hazard for children who are not big enough to wear lap-shoulder belts," said John Bisnar. "As far back as June 1997, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that states make it illegal for children 12 and under to sit in the front seat of air-bag equipped vehicles, but few states have acted."

"Mr. Crespo has certainly done the right thing in going after Daimler Chrysler," observed Brian Chase of the nationally recognized Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys law firm. "Holding a car maker accountable for a preventable tragedy like this is a courageous and commendable act. Our hope is that this lawsuit and the many lawsuits we have filed against Daimler Chrysler and other automakers will convince them to design safer air bag deployment systems and prevent others from being so needlessly injured or killed."

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as the result of a defective auto part or vehicle, contact the experienced California auto products liability attorneys at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. We will use our extensive knowledge and resources to achieve the best possible results for you and your family.


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Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Bisnar Chase serves all of California. In addition, we represent clients in various other states through our affiliations with local law firms. Through the local firm we will be admitted to practice law in their state, pro hac vice.

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