Defective Steering Causes Fatal Accident

Product Liability Expert WitnessThis case takes place in California and involves a woman who died as a result of a car accident. The plaintiff was driving on a highway that she was very familiar with. While plaintiff was driving at approximately 45 MPH on dry and clear conditions, the car entered a curve and instead of turning as directed, proceeded in an essentially straight direction. The car traveled for a significant distance before it impacted a tree. It is alleged that the hydraulic power steering on the vehicle being operated by defendant is essentially similar to the hydraulic power steering found on a line of cars which was recently recalled for a similar issue. It is claimed that this vehicles power steering was defective in its design in that the power steering would experience a malfunction, making the vehicle difficult to maintain steering control and causing the vehicle to veer off the course intended by the driver. A number of expert witnesses with specialties in automobile product liability and hydraulic engineering were sought to opine on this case, where the manufacturer of the car was sued under the state’s Lemon Laws.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with hydraulic power steering?
  • 2. Do you have knowledge of the recent recall?

Expert Witness Response E-016310

I am familiar with power steering systems and feel qualified as an expert in the field of automotive control systems, having done research, published, taught, advised, created products and performed prior expert witness work in this area. I am generally familiar with the NHTSA investigation and the recall campaign using web-accessible resources. I believe that I understand the preliminary facts of the case, the position of the client, and I can think of potential methods for resolving the technical and situational contentions. I have extensive experience in the field of engineering and have been considered an expert in this field since the early 1980’s. This includes specific expertise in the areas of control systems, computer-based control systems, microprocessor-based control systems, and advanced indirect sensing methods, all with applications in the field of automotive engineering. I am currently the Department Head of the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department, Professor and former Chair of the Electrical Engineering Department, former Director of the Computer Engineering Program and the Director of the Transportation Electronics Laboratory at the California Polytechnic State University. My teaching and research specialties include digital control systems, automotive and transportation electronics, and advanced sensors.

Expert Witness Response E-016311

Expert-ID: E-016311

I am highly familiar with power steering. I have 30+ years of experience in automotive research and development, for sensors, actuators, electrical machines and drives, electromagnetic and electromechanical systems, including power steering, electric brakes, etc (GM, Delphi, Eaton). I also have 49 patents, including 2 patents specifically on electric power steering, and a number on position sensors used for power steering. I received the GM/Delphi Boss Kettering Award in 2007 as part of the power steering team (this award goes to individuals and teams whose significant patented invention made a difference in production). I worked on electric power steering while at Delphi in the years 1995-2006. Delphi (whose power steering unit is now known as “Nexteer”) is a major supplier of power steering. I do not have knowledge of this particular recall but I am able to research the matter.


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