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Do you enjoy driving a safe car? Thank a personal injury attorney

July 15, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan personal injury attorneys share how lawyers have saved lives, forced auto manufacturers to make safer cars

Your car is chock full of safety features. But it isn’t because of car manufacturers, who fought against most of them.

And it isn’t because of government safety regulators, who sadly bowed to industry pressure more often than not.

Your car is safer, and hundreds, maybe thousands of lives are saved every year, because personal injury attorneys insisted on it.

That’s a fact.

And I’m thrilled that American Association for Justice President Gibson Vance reminded the country of that fact in his opinion piece in the Washington Post, “How our cars got safer.”

At a time when lawyer jokes abound and calls for “tort-reform” pushed by the insurance companies and other groups have found a voice in the Republican party, and with some groups blaming personal injury attorneys for basically all of society’s woes; people should be reminded about the important role that lawyers play in our society.

Whether it is exploding Pintos, to car windows that suffocated dozens of children, to civil rights to civil liberties, lawyers play a role that has pushed for societal change when no one else would.

People need to know they are safer because of personal injury attorneys, and the cars they drive are a great example of this. By the way, the leading lawyers of the day that were behind most of these product safety enhancements were almost all from Detroit. Detroit 60 years ago was really the home to the progressive product liability laws that were the driving force behind so many important safety changes in society. That is particularly ironic considering that the “tort-reform” passed in Michigan in 1995 essentially wiped out product liability lawyers in Michigan.

Nevertheless, the courageous and principled work done by some of the great injury attorneys like Harry Philo from Detroit and many others are the reasons why are cars are safer today.

As Mr. Vance said in his column:

“History shows that litigation and the civil justice system have served as the most consistent and powerful forces in heightening safety standards, revealing previously concealed defects and regulatory weaknesses and deterring manufacturers from cutting corners on safety for the goal of greater profits.”

As examples of achieving vehicle safety through litigation, Mr. Vance recalled the Ford Pinto crisis where litigation arising out of fatal, fiery rear-end explosions forced the auto industry to revamp its gas tank designs to make them less volatile when crashes occur. Mr. Vance also noted that litigation was the impetus for car manufacturers converting to power-window switch designs that posed less of a threat to children.

But that’s not all.

The AAJ’s guide, “Driven to Safety: How Litigation Spurred Auto Safety Innovations,” details how “safety through litigation” has also brought us safer seat belts, car roofs, tires, door latches, air bags and seats.

It’s true that the safety features in our cars and trucks wouldn’t be there if automakers did not choose to put them there.

But let’s not forget that it was in many cases, personal injury attorneys standing up to the powerful automakers who left them with no other choice.

Steve Gursten is one of the nation’s top personal injury attorneys handling auto accident lawsuits. He is head of Michigan Auto Law and has received the highest verdict in the state for a car accident or truck accident victim in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Related information to protect yourself:

A world without lawyers

Michigan safe driving tips

10 things to know if you’ve been injured in a Michigan car accident

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.

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2 Replies to “Do you enjoy driving a safe car? Thank a personal injury attorney”

  1. I hadn’t thought of personal injury lawyers in this aspect, but it is a great point. Car accident lawyers definitely help make the road safer in their own way. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank the greats who came before me, the greats like Harry Philo and others who sacrificed so much, and think about personal injury lawyers saving thousands of lives every year next time the insurance companies and the Chamber run another attack ad against lawyers while pushing tort “reform.”

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