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Product liability: Mother wins fight against rental car companies

A mother who lost two daughters in a car accident in 2004 has finally convinced federal lawmakers to prohibit the rental of recalled vehicles prior to having them repaired. Her campaign to get the laws changed started after the family was awarded $15 million in damages after a product liability lawsuit that followed the fatal accident. As of last December, car rental companies in Texas and elsewhere may not provide drivers with cars that are under recall or have dangerous defects.

In 2004, the two sisters -- ages 24 and 20 -- rented a Chrysler PT Cruiser from Enterprise without knowing that it was under a safety recall. The defect that led to the vehicle's recall involved the possibility of steering fluid leaking and causing a fire. This is exactly what happened while the two women were traveling.

The car unexpectedly burst into flames and crashed into a big rig -- a crash that claimed the lives of both women. The mother started her quest to get federal lawmakers to force rental companies to have the necessary repairs done to recalled vehicles before renting them to unsuspecting drivers. She alleges Enterprise initially opposed the proposed act but later joined other rental agencies in supporting it after more than 100,000 people signed an online petition.

Residents of Texas who have been injured in accidents that resulted from vehicle defects may benefit from discussing their options for pursuing financial relief with an experienced product liability attorney. Navigating such a lawsuit can be complicated, and a lawyer can do much to ease the process. A skilled attorney will know how to hold product manufacturers and their chains of supply or service providers accountable for fatal or serious injuries that were caused by defective products.

Source: ABC News, "Years After Tragedy, Mother Claims Victory in New Rental Car Protections", Randy Kreider, June 1, 2016

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