The recent recall of Ford F-150s suggests a potentially greater tendency of Ford drivers to suffer whiplash as a result of car accidents. There are at least five reports of crashes and one confirmed case of whiplash in a collision caused by an unexpected downshift to first gear. The recent recall alerts drivers that there is a manufacturing defect in these vehicles that can cause sudden unexpected downshifts. Car accidents involving the loss of control can cause some of the most devastating injuries.
If you or someone you know was traveling in a Ford F-150 that lost control, contact The Reiff Law Firm to learn more about the possible causes of action you may be able to pursue. Here, the Philadelphia car accident whiplash injury attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm explain the potential issues that can arise as a result of this latest recall of Ford vehicles.
What We Know About the Whiplash-Related Ford Vehicle Recall
As experienced car accident lawyers, we often find that when a recall is issued, many people have suffered similar types of accidents. This is especially true of the recent recall of F-150s made between April 2010 and October 2013.
The recall affects approximately 1.48 million pickup trucks built at the Dearborn Assembly Plant. The problem ensues when the vehicle is traveling at a higher speed, at which point its 6-speed automatic transmission may experience “an intermittent loss of the transmission output speed sensor signal to the powertrain control module, potentially resulting a temporary, unintended downshift into first gear.” This sudden downshift into first gear could result in a loss of control.
While there has been only one whiplash accident reported so far, it is likely that many more have occurred. Car crash analysis can be a complicated field. A number of independent investigators usually review the accidents related to a recall before the exact cause is confirmed.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash usually occurs as a result of a forceful back-and-forth movement of the head. The principal cause of whiplash is car accidents, most commonly rear-end car accidents. In the case of the popular Ford F-150, drivers can lose control as a result of an unexpected shift into first gear, and the sudden head movements can result in severe whiplash. Common symptoms of this condition include:
- Stiffness and neck pain
- Temporary or long-term loss of range of motion in the neck
- Intensifying neck pain with movement
- Severe headaches beginning at the base of the skull
- Shoulder pain
Whiplash can cause other serious and unpredictable medical complications down the road such as memory problems, depression, and difficulty concentrating.
Ford F-150 Recalls: What You Need to Know
Car accident reports are usually only forwarded to the vehicle’s manufacturers if there is official concern over car defects. Automakers tend to be slow in analyzing and reporting problems. Anytime a recall of this kind arises, it becomes apparent that the car manufacturer didn’t test vehicles properly and at expected speeds.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other regulators aren’t always able to hold the car industry accountable. The NHTSA investigates complaints to determine whether the car manufacturer is responsible. If there is a finding that the manufacturer is responsible for the defect, then they can order a recall.
Since 2013, car manufacturers who don’t warn the public about safety defects can face steep fines, capped at $35 million per violation. The NHTSA can order Ford to recall these vehicles and make mandatory repairs to correct the defect. Ford is required to provide official notice to registered owners. However, since the Ford F-150s with this defect were made so long ago, tracking current owners can be a difficult task.
How Accurate Are the Car Defects Reported for Vehicle Recalls?
As experienced car accident attorneys for over 35 years, we have reviewed thousands of car accident reports and accident reconstruction analyses where the driver couldn’t recall the specific reason the vehicle lost control. With the help of professionals in the field of car crash analysis, we can establish the causes of a car accident. There are many instances when a car defect turns out to be the real reason for a car accident, but it is only determined after a thorough review of the events surrounding the car accident.
When recalls are issued, additional legal issues can arise because the car manufacturer must warn and protect consumers. With the help of the NHTSA, we can learn about complaints and other information that may become relevant if a lawsuit is pursued. However, information is not always readily available. If one looks back at the notorious case of the Pinto recalls, Ford was slow in recognizing the safety issues, citing “inconclusive crash test results.” The Ford Pintos had many versions and models, but most versions came back with the same fuel tank problem that caused horrific deaths and burns. Mark Dowies’ analysis for the magazine Mother Jones addressed the potential that Ford was callously trading lives for profits. With this history in mind, consumers need to be aware they may not be receiving complete information.
Ford Whiplash Injury Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
The Ford F-150 recall should raise awareness of the possibility that a manufacturing defect caused your accident. Negligence is the cause of most manufacturing defects. In the case of the Ford F-150s, someone was careless in making these vehicles at the Dearborn plant and deviated from the intended design. Also, the defect in this instance is not open and “obvious” since it only occurs at higher speeds. All these issues surrounding the current Ford recall create specific questions of law and fact that an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney can help you understand.
Call us at (215) 515-8351 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Philadephia personal injury lawyers who can help you seek compensation for your losses.