Automatic emergency braking systems (“AEB Systems”) are a new safety technology that can save lives, but when they are defective, they can result in serious accidents that may prove deadly. A vehicle’s brakes are often the only things preventing a collision, so if they fail to engage or erroneously stop the vehicle at a vital time, the result can be a crash that can cause broken bones, internal injuries, brain and spinal injuries, amputations, or even death. Survivors may be left with continuing pain and suffering and mounting medical and household bills, at a time they are unable to work.
While originally found only in luxury vehicles, such as Tesla and Mercedes, AEB systems are now installed in common vehicles from large automobile manufacturers such as Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda, and Nissan. If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died due to an AEB-related accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages by filing an individual lawsuit or, possibly, by joining a class-action lawsuit against those responsible. While no amount of money can make up for the suffering and negative effects on your life, compensation will bring justice, remove your financial burdens, and help prevent others from being similarly harmed in the future.
Call the team at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law for help today at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 and get your free case evaluation.
Automatic Emergency Braking System Defects
Defects and Malfunctions Cause Problems
An AEB system works by scanning the road using sensors, cameras, and radar to detect the possibility of collision with another object and apply brakes automatically if necessary. The intent is for the system to react quicker than a human can in dangerous situations to reduce the chances of crashes. Normally, vehicles equipped with the systems will first provide both audible and visual warnings. If no action is taken by the driver, or if the event happens very rapidly, the systems brake to prevent a crash or reduce its severity. When systems work properly, it greatly reduces accidents and injuries, but when they malfunction, it can lead to accidents and resulting injuries.
Defective AEB systems have caused problems that include the following:
Stalling and sudden stops – Cars stall suddenly and unexpectedly and come to a complete stop. Drivers cannot restart the car until putting the car in park, shutting off the engine, and then starting again. This has happened on highways, creating dangerous potential crash situations. It has also occurred with cars traveling faster than 10 mph and traveling down a steep slope that levels out to a flat one, when the system detects the road as a possible obstacle due to the angle and activates the braking mechanism.
Difficulty starting – Cars have trouble starting up or start but then turn right back off again.
Failing – In specific situations where the AEB system is designed to slow or stop a vehicle, the technology fails. And as a result of the failure, a minor or moderate impact is catastrophic.
Possible causes of these problems could be an AEB sensor that is obscured or defective and produces erroneous readings that indicate an imminent collision and cause the car to react unpredictably.
Lawsuits for Defective AEB Sytems
There have been multiple complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about faulty AEB systems, as well as class-action lawsuits. The NHTSA has filed a petition that emphasizes the inefficiency of the automotive brands at handling the issue effectively.
It has been alleged that Nissan ignored customer complaints about AEB systems, and many owners of 2017–2021 Nissan Altima cars have submitted complaints to federal authorities. Other vehicles known to have problems include:
2018 Volkswagen Atlas
2017 – 2019 Nissan Rogue Hybrid/Sport
2017 – 2018 Honda CR-V.
When is There Liability for Defective AEB Systems?
When AEB systems fail due to a defect, victims might have grounds to file product liability lawsuits. Under Texas law (TX C.P.R. Chapter 82), product liability is a strict liability offense. This means you do not have to prove that the defendant you are suing was negligent. It is enough to show that the product was defective and that this defect caused you harm.
To prove liability, your attorney will need to show the following:
The product is defective.
The product got to you without there having been a substantial change in condition.
The defect in the product made it unreasonably dangerous.
The defect caused you damages and harm.
Types of Defects
There are three types of defects that are considered to result in product liability:
1. Design defects
Design defects occur when something in the design of the product creates an unnecessary risk of injury or death to someone using it.
To prove the design is defective, your attorney must show that:
The manufacturer could have used a less dangerous design.
The alternate design would have been reasonable financially and technologically.
The alternate design would have reduced the risk of injury but still kept most of the product’s usefulness.
You were injured because of the design defect.
2. Marketing defects
Marketing defects occur when the manufacturer does not provide proper warnings or instructions about how to use the product to reduce risks. Manufacturers are required to provide warning labels or statements if the product has an unexpected danger that is not obvious or if it must be used a certain way to be safe.
To prove marketing defects, your attorney would show that:
The manufacturer failed to warn you of risks of the product that would not be obvious to a reasonable person.
The manufacturer failed to provide instructions for safe use.
You were injured due to this failure of labeling or instructions.
3. Manufacturing defects
These are errors that occur during the production process, even if the design and labeling were correct. Manufacturing defects usually are caused by errors in quality control or production and may not occur in every identical item produced.
Compensation You May Receive for Defective AEB Systems
In a successful AEB system product liability lawsuit, your attorney may recover an award, called damages, for the injuries and losses you have suffered. This includes an amount to compensate for your economic and non-economic losses, and, in some circumstances, there may be punitive damages as well.
Economic or Special Damages: These cover your monetary or financial losses for expenses that include:
Medical, pharmaceutical, hospital, and rehabilitation bills
Lost wages, current and future
Non-economic or General Damages: These are payments that go directly to you as compensation for the non-monetary negative effects on your lifestyle, which may include:
Pain and suffering
Mental and emotional anguish
Loss of consortium and negative effects on your marital relationship
Loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive or Exemplary damages: These are damages awarded on rare occasions as a penalty to punish a defendant for gross negligence and reckless actions and as an example to discourage this type of offense from happening again.
Call our Houston AEB Injury Attorneys for Help
When AEB system failure causes an auto accident that results in serious injuries, it is difficult for victims to know where to turn. Be aware that if you decide to join a class-action lawsuit, you are electing not to sue as an individual, both during and after the settlement.
At this difficult time when you are dealing with trying to recover from your accident, the experienced personal injury and product liability lawyers at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help. When you contact us, we will examine your individual situation and give you information about brake system recalls, manufacturer negligence, and product liability laws. In addition, we can help if you have been injured by other potentially dangerous car defects, such as separation of treads in defective tires.
Be aware that proving product liability is complicated, and insurance companies will try to get you to accept the lowest settlement possible or even claim you are responsible for the accident, so do not try to fight them on your own. Let our team take the burden off you by handling all the investigations, negotiations, and legal hurdles and requirements involved with proving an AEB system defect caused your accident and getting you the settlement you and your family deserve.
We offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case, and there are no fees to you unless and until we win an award for you, so don’t delay.
Call us now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for a free consultation.
Attorney Terry Bryant
Terry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]
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