Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 19, 2020

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An Indiana family has filed a lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company alleging that the airbags in their 1997 Ford pickup truck deployed and caused their eight year old daughter to suffer severe and permanent brain injuries.

Indiana product liability

This Indiana product liability lawsuit has been ongoing for several years. According to news reports, Peter and Lori Cook filed a product liability lawsuit against Ford alleging that the company’s instructions and warnings with respect to the front passenger seat airbag deactivation switch were defective and caused their eight year old daughter, Lindsay Jo, to suffer permanent brain damage when the air bag deployed and struck the child in the head.

A lower court had initially ruled in favor of Ford reasoning that the Cook’s defective airbag lawsuit was preempted by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act which oversees safety standards. However, they appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals who reversed the initial decision and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings. The Appellate Court reasoned that the Cook’s complaint did not conflict with the Act’s airbag warnings and therefore, they were not preempted from having their day in court.

Car makers responsible for auto safety

Car manufacturers are responsible for making sure that their cars are safe. That is certainly a general statement, but it has to be as it applies to every aspect of the vehicles they sell. They are also responsible for every design aspect of their vehicle as well and are required to test their vehicles to ensure that they hold up in a crash and meet federal standards. If they breach those duties of care, car manufacturers can be held liable for your damages.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and your injuries were partly or completely caused by a defective airbag, defective seatbelt, defective tire or any other part of a vehicle, contact an experienced Indiana car accident lawyer to discuss your situation. In many cases, liability can be attributed to whoever was at fault, but also with auto makers for defective parts.