McAllen Office: 3900 N. 10th St., Suite 850 McAllen, TX 78501
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Michael M. Guerra
2011 A Thompson Reuters service printed in Texas Monthly

Defective Automobiles
Automotive defects can and do cause serious collisions, leading to catastrophic injury and death. Many otherwise survivable crashes result in severe injury or death due to safety system failures. A vehicle's occupant protection package includes things such as the seatbelts, airbags, side curtain airbags, rollover sensors, seatbelt pretensioners, electronic steering control systems, and many more developments. Properly designed and manufactured vehicles help drivers avoid collisions, and properly designed and implemented vehicle safety systems protect occupants from severe or fatal injuries in foreseeable crashes. Many deaths can be avoided when companies act responsibly in implementing safe products. Unfortunately, not all companies act responsibly.
In fact, studies show:
  • More than 10,000 roof crush deaths occur every year
  • More than 375,000 vehicle fires resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries occur every year (According to the U.S. Fire Administration, post-collision fires are the leading cause of vehicle-related deaths. These fires ignite for a variety of reasons including failure to incorporate anti-siphoning valves, failure to include fuel filler tube check valves, misrouting of fuel lines, failure to protect fuel lines, and placement of the fuel tank within the vehicle's crush zone.)
  • Many other deaths occur each year due to defective seat belts, failure of automakers to implement rollover airbags, inadequate seat strength, inadequate occupant ejection prevention and other vehicle defects.
Every major car collision case should be evaluated to determine if there is a vehicle defect. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these potential cases go unidentified and are never pursued because unknowing lawyers settle for the insurance policy limits, which may be as little as $25,000, without ever considering a product defect claim.
The lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael M. Guerra can help you evaluate your case for potential product defect claims. Our lawyers have handled cases involving rollover, handling and stability, roof collapse, seatbelt failure, faulty airbag systems, broken seats, faulty door latches, defective glass and glazing, fuel system fires and other defective and unreasonably dangerous conditions. These cases have involved some of the world's largest auto manufacturers, such as Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Saturn, Nissan, Isuzu, Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Kia.
Defective Tires
Defective tires cause thousands of serious injuries each year. We have worked at the forefront of tire litigation, including the highly publicized Firestone tire recall. In fact, Michael M. Guerra was a key member of the trial team for the plaintiffs in the first Ford / Firestone detread case to reach a jury. Mr. Guerra spearheaded that case from the initial phases to the ultimate jury selection. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael M. Guerra have successfully litigated cases against the world's largest tire manufacturers, including Cooper, Bridgestone, Firestone, Goodyear, Uniroyal, Michelin, Kumho, Continental, General, and other manufacturers. Proper investigation and handling of a tire case requires experienced counsel. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael M. Guerra are distinctively qualified to handle your tire defect case.
More than 10,000 deaths occur each year because of rollover with a resulting roof crush. Many manufactures still have not installed ESC (Electronic Stability Control) in their vehicles. ESC is one of the most important developments in automotive safety since the inception of the seatbelt and it can prevent a huge number of rollover related deaths each year. However, many automakers refuse to install ESC as standard equipment. This decision exemplifies how automakers place profit over safety in our opinion.
Car manufactures also have cut corners on roof strength to save money, resulting in weaker roofs that directly cause death and serious injury. Not only must the roof maintain its integrity, but the seatbelt must keep the passenger firmly is the car's seat. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael M. Guerra have been at the leading edge of holding automakers accountable for failing to use rollover sensing pretensioners. These devices sense when a rollover is about to occur and automatically pull the seatbelt snug, in many instances, preventing deadly partial ejections. Furthermore, the use of rollover activated seatbelt pretensioners in combination with the use of side curtain airbags has proven very effective in preventing full and partial ejections, yet many manufacturers choose not to use these life saving devices in what we believe is yet another example of the profit over safety mentality. We have litigated this issue countless times and we stand willing, ready and able to assist you in holding negligent automakers accountable. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael M. Guerra are distinctively qualified to handle your rollover/roof crush case.
Seat Belt Failures
Seat belt injuries often occur when there is a seat belt design, production, or installation defect. The injuries that may occur as a result of a defective seat belt or from failure of a seat belt are numerous and include; spinal cord injury, brain or head injury, paralysis, internal injuries, amputations, broken bones, concussions and fatalities.
According to the Center for Auto Safety, from January 2000 through November 2006 there have been 180 safety recalls involving seat belts that don't work properly in both passenger and commercial vehicles. These involve everything from belt webbing that could be cut by another part rubbing against it, to buckles that seem to latch but don't as well as shoulder belts that might not retract.
Auto accidents are really a series of collisions. The first collision is the vehicle's impact with another vehicle object or the road surface. The second collision is the passenger's impact with the interior of the vehicle, or in cases of ejection, impact outside the vehicle. Seat belt injuries can occur when a defective seat belt fails to adequately protect a vehicle passenger in the "second collision" phase of an automobile accident. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael M. Guerra are distinctively qualified to handle your seatbelt failure case. We have litigated cases against automakers and against the independent seat belt maker who provides the seat belts to the automakers.
Airbag Failures
While intended to help prevent injuries in an accident, airbag defects may actually cause severe injuries. Obviously, if an airbag fails to deploy, there may be an airbag claim. However, there may be other types of airbag claims. Aggressive airbags which deploy at excessive speeds can cause head or neck injuries or other broken bones. Children are especially susceptible to injuries and or death caused by an airbag. They should always been seated upright and as far away from an airbag as possible. Late deploying airbags can fail to protect an occupant from contact with the interior of the vehicle, thus causing injuries that could have been avoided. Airbags with a low deployment threshold can deploy at inopportune times in low speed impacts. These are often collisions that would have been injury free, if not for the airbag impacting the occupant.
You may have an airbag case if any of these factors apply:
  • The airbag deployed in a collision which was slower than 10 miles an hour;
  • The airbag failed to deploy and there is obvious damage to the front bumper;
  • The airbag deployed late;
  • The occupant is severely injured in spite of, or because of the airbag deployment.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an airbag or because an airbag did not deploy, let the lawyers of the Law Offices of Michael M. Guerra evaluate your case.
Tire Blowouts / Aged Tires
The Law Offices of Michael M. Guerra have been on the cutting edge of aged tire litigation, uncovering many documents that show that aged tires have been a dirty secret for decades. Manufacturing defects are often hidden until the tire actually fails. Tire manufacturers have known for decades that tires should not be used after six years, even if the tire tread appears brand new. Tires have a limited service life no matter what the tire's tread looks like. Consumers, and even many tire installers, are uninformed of the danger of aged tires. If your loved one has been injured or killed by a tire blowout, let the lawyers of the Law Offices of Michael M. Guerra help.
Defective Child Seats and Infant Carriers
Child seat manufactures are not held to the same rigorous standards as automobile manufactures. Too often, these manufactures cut corners on design, testing, and component materials. These choices have devastating results for children who are supposed to be protected, not harmed, by these devices. If your loved one has been injured or killed by a defective car seat, let us assist you.
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