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Potential underreporting of vehicle injuries and deaths

As Minnesota drivers know, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiles statistics on the number of injuries and deaths in motor vehicles to try and reduce accident fatalities caused by safety defects. The number of death and injury claims reported by Volkswagen has led to questions concerning the accuracy of statistics reported by auto manufacturers.

Two other automakers, Fiat Chrysler and Honda, have admitted to underreporting of claims associated with the company's vehicles. One of the two companies, Honda, paid a fine associated with this underreporting. According to reports by Volkswagen, its claims are nine times lower than the other 11 largest car makers.

After completion of a government data analysis by an advisory firm, Volkswagen reports of deaths and injuries associated with the car company were below results that normally would be expected and even well below those companies that admitted to underreporting. Because of these discrepancies, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation has called a meeting in Washington with the automakers. His intent is to talk about the underreported injuries and deaths and the necessity for safety defect reporting.

The NHTSA had requested that the automakers review compliance with reporting parameters in December 2014. The parameters originated in 2000 following problems with Firestone tires that deteriorated in states with hot weather, resulting in some SUVs overturning. At that time, it was believed knowledge of the tire problems might have prevented the accidents due to the faulty tires from happening.

If an individual has been involved in an accident caused by a defective part, it may result in medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. It may be useful to consult with an attorney who has experience in automotive defects to see if it would be advisable to file a product liability lawsuit against the vehicle's manufacturer.

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