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Our Defective Auto Parts Attorney Discusses Flawed Designs
Auto companies run simulated tests to determine the safety of their vehicles, but sometimes these tests are not stringent enough to determine potential dangers. When accidents start to happen in the real world, auto companies must pay attention, admit responsibilities and take measures to prevent further injuries from occurring. Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson has been highly involved in defective auto components litigation throughout his career, including cases involving unintended acceleration, rollovers and tire blowouts.
Remember the Saturn? I handled a bunch of cases involving the Saturn door. The way they built the door, if the car got hit, it was made out of fiberglass. It would get hit from the side and the door was curved; the driver’s door and the passenger’s door were curved. It would get hit and it would cause it to bend and that would then activate the mechanism to open the door. Instead of having three-point seat belts with an airbag, the government let you put in an automatic seat belt and no airbag. When you open the door, your seat belt would open. But you could put that in if you were a manufacturer and satisfy the safety rules and didn’t have to put in an airbag for about a decade. People hated those things. They got tangled up in them. We found out it was even more dangerous because when the door of these Saturns would come open, there was no seat belt on you except the lap belt, which was put on separately.
We had one case in South Carolina where this young woman was in it. She got hit from the side, the door bent, the thing opened. The police couldn’t figure out why the door came open and she got thrown out. Then I handled one just like it in Los Angeles. I taught seminars to tell people how to recognize this. We went to General Motors and we went to Saturn and we talked to their engineers. We told them how to redesign this. The whole world is like a big testing grounds in a way. You find out how accidents perform in the real world. What manufacturers try to do is simulate the real world. We found out in hundreds and hundreds of cases that a lot of times they don’t really subject their designs to as strenuous and unusual forces as they see in the real world.