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Shapiro & Appleton

Subaru Announces Recall of 50,000 “Zombie Vehicles”

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What Happened:

Subaru recently announced a major auto recall affecting nearly 50,000 vehicles for an especially curious problem: they have a tendency to turn themselves on. The recall, dubbed by many as a “zombie car” recall, applies to Legacy, Outback and Impreza models produced between 2010 and 2013 as well as those Crosstrek vehicles manufactured in 2013.

The recall notice released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the zombie car problem exists because of a remote engine starter that comes standard in the cars’ key fobs. If damage occurs to the fob it can lead to an electronic malfunction, which then randomly transmits electrical signals to the car’s engine, prompting it to start and stop without the driver ever pressing a button.

Though the idea of a car with a life of its own sounds amusing, the NHTSA and Subaru of America both released statements saying the problem is no laughing matter. If and when the fob is damaged it is able to repeatedly send start and stop commands to the car until either the fob’s battery dies or the car runs out of gasoline. A very serious risk is that if the car is parked in a garage or other enclosed space a massive amount of carbon monoxide can quickly build-up. This carbon monoxide can then cause asphyxiation in those not only in the garage, but even occupants of an attached house.

The recent trouble comes on the heels of a massive recall launched by Subaru in January. That recall affected more than 630,000 cars and was issued after it was discovered that water was able to leak into lights on side mirrors which could then cause a short circuit and possible car fires.

The Virginia Injury Attorney’s Perspective:

Though it’s always good to see a company take the step of warning consumers about possible dangers associated with its products, the recall by Subaru raises some serious questions about why the improperly assembled vehicles were allowed to be sold in the first place.  

Attorneys with my Virginia (VA) personal injury law firm have helped victims of dangerous and defective products recover damages from companies whose negligence or disregard for consumer safety led to injuries. In one case, my firm represented a man who was injured as a result of a defect in a custom ski boat he had recently purchased. We were able to secure a settlement for the man to help compensate him for not only his medical expenses, but for the pain and suffering he endured as a result of the manufacturer’s negligent design.

Helpful Info:

Defective and dangerous products come in all shapes and sizes, from cars to cribs and everything in between. If you or a family member has been injured, sickened or killed by an unsafe product, you can begin to learn about your legal rights and options by reading this article written by the experienced Virginia product safety attorneys at my firm.

Have Questions? Check out our FAQs 

Those who have been injured by a dangerous or defective product likely have many questions and concerns. If you’re wondering about what to do after sustaining an injury, curious about the requirements for successful product liability claims or worried about how a manufacturer might defend against such a suit, check out the following library of attorneys' answers to frequently asked questions regarding recalled products

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