Defective Power Windows
Virtually all new vehicles introduced in the American market come with power window systems. Although these make it easier for passengers to open and shut windows, they have been the cause of many injuries over the years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 500 people suffer from power window related injuries every year. Most of those injured are children below the age of 15. Since the onset of their popularity in the early nineties, approximately 58 people have died and hundreds have been injured.
For a person who has been severely injured by a defective power window, life may become increasingly difficult. Medical bills may pile up. Trying to deal with insurance claims and other matters related to the incident can be complex and frustrating. The physical pain of the incident may cause lasting emotional trauma, as may the financial problems that may arise. In these situations, you should turn to a product liability lawyer.
An attorney can help with a claim or lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective power window, seeking financial compensation for medical bills, lost earnings and various other expenses or losses that the incident has caused. Though the manufacturer may have considerable resources to counteract a product liability lawsuit, an experienced attorney can take a stand to protect an injured consumer's rights nonetheless.
Causes of Power Window Accidents
Most vehicles equipped with power windows come with one of two operating systems:
- Rocker Switches – The passenger presses one end of the switch in order to open or shut the window.
- Toggle Switches – The passenger presses the switch forward in order to operate the power window.
Both switches are easy for children to operate, resulting in hundreds rushed to emergency rooms with:
- Fractured fingers and hands
- Crushed fingers
A third kind of switch, the lever switch, is more difficult for children of this high risk age group to operate. This switch is operated by pulling up on the switch in order to operate the window. Auto safety advocates have been urging motor vehicle companies to use the lever switch system, making it harder for children to operate windows. Daimler Chrysler and General Motors have recently introduced passenger car models with the lever switch power window mechanism. However, the majority of American made cars continue to use the rocker or toggle switch systems.
Safety mechanisms that force windows to open automatically when obstructed can prevent most injuries and deaths related to power windows. These safety mechanisms work in much the same manner as elevator doors, which open when blocked by an object or person. Most American cars are not equipped with these safety mechanisms, however, they are common in Japanese and European models. An overwhelming majority of accidents caused by power windows can be prevented if automobile manufacturers invest in safety mechanisms and lever switches.
Injuries from Power Window Accidents
More than 70% of power window injuries cause fractures of fingers, wrists, or hands. Dislocation, bruising, lacerations, and crushed hands are also common. Heads or bodies can also be trapped in power windows resulting in suffocation.
Our Product Liability Firm Can Help
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we assist clients throughout the United States with product liability claims and lawsuits. We believe in consumers' rights and are dedicated to protecting these to the fullest extent in all cases we handle related to defective auto parts. From defective power windows to defective seatbelts and faulty fuel systems, we understand how to investigate these matters and build compelling cases that prove manufacturer liability.
Contact a product liability lawyer at Arnold & Itkin for help with a case involving a power window defect.