Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer
The Francis Law Group
Defective Instrument Panel
The electronic instrument panel of the dashboard, situated above the steering wheel, provides the driver with vital information that enables him or her to drive safely. The panel includes the speedometer, odometer, gas gauge, and alert lights such as the check engine, low tire pressure and check transmission lights. A defective instrument panel may seem relatively unimportant at first when compared to more major car defects because defective panels typically don’t cause fires or explosions. However, defective panels can have other potentially very serious outcomes and cause drivers to wreck.
Dangers of Defective Instrument Panels
When the instrument panel isn’t functioning correctly, it may give the driver false information, which, in turn, can lead to an accident. For example, if the gas gauge doesn’t work correctly, the driver wrongly can assume he or she has adequate gas in the tank for a trip, and then run out of gas on the highway. If the car stalls in a dangerous location or other drivers do not have the time to stop, a crash is likely. Likewise, if the speedometer is defective, a driver can misgauge his speed, inadvertently drive recklessly, which can lead to a single- or multi-car crash.
An electronic panel that isn’t manufactured or installed correctly also can impact the driver’s side airbag. Certain defects in the dash can cause the airbag to tear or rip or otherwise fail to deploy correctly, increasing the risk of injury and death should an accident occur.
Defective Panel Recalls
Cars occasionally are recalled due to defects in certain components in the instrument panel. Below are some recalls and complaints in recent years.
- General Motors – GM had to recall a massive amount of vehicles due to panel problems. In certain models, the speedometer tended to malfunction, the tachometer needle got stuck or jumped randomly, the fuel gauge fluttered, and the entire instrument panel failed. Some of the vehicles affected include 2003 to 2007 Buick LeSabre, Buick Rendezvous, Chevy Avalanche, Chevy Silverado, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, Cadillac Escalade, Hummer H2 and Pontiac Sunfire.
- Toyota– Consumers are complaining of “melting dashboards” in certain Lexus models, likely caused by faulty parts. Drivers are concerned the cars are not safe and may cause the airbags to fail. In 2011, Lexus issued a service bulletin that IS250 and IS350 cars that may "exhibit sticky interior panels that have a shiny/degraded appearance. This condition may be present on the Instrument Panel Pad and/or the Door Panel Trim."
- BMW – Certain models of the 2013 BMW X3 have been recalled due to “a production process error" in which the automaker failed to manufacture correctly the tear seam on the instrument panel. This can hinder airbag deployment.
All car owners are encouraged to call their manufacturer and/or visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA’s) recalls.gov site to see if their car is under recall and to read or file a consumer complaint.
Were you injured in a wreck caused by a defective instrumental panel?
If you or your loved one were in an accident that was caused by your car’s defective instrument panel, you may have just cause to file a product liability lawsuit to recover your damages. To have a valid claim, you’ll need to be able to prove the following.
- The instrumental panel was defective.
- The defect caused or led to injuries.
- You suffered actual injuries and wouldn’t have suffered them had it not been for the defect.
It a good idea to take your case to a local product liability attorney to assess your accident and determine the best way to move forward. For an accomplished lawyer in Orlando, consider Francis Law Group. Contact us today at 407-363-9939 for a free, one-on-one consultation with our product liability lawyer who handles defective electronic instrument accident cases.