The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expanded its investigation of potentially faulty power window units to include 600,000 Toyota Camrys. The investigation began after several bizarre reports of automobile fires starting when drivers rolled up their windows were traced to a faulty power window switch that could overheat and catch fire. The investigation now covers cars, trucks, and SUVs from several different manufacturers. So far, the faulty units have been traced to 161 fires and nine serious injuries.

What does this mean for drivers in Houston? Houston is a car culture, overwhelmingly dependent on its massive highway infrastructure to serve basic transportation needs; a majority of Houston residents, well above the national average, drive alone to their place of work. This means that residents of Houston spend more time in their cars, on average, which means greater use of all of the cars’ features and a greater likelihood of this defective product affecting Houstonians.

In most cases like this, the manufacturers responsible for producing and distributing the defective and dangerous product are held accountable and hold liability for product recalls and just compensation where appropriate. In cases of serious injury or death, however, those measures might not be sufficient, and the services of a product liability or personal injury lawyer may need to be sought to ensure just and appropriate damages are awarded to consumers harmed by the faulty product. Don’t be reluctant to contact a product liability lawyer in Houston if you’ve been affected by this faulty product; a class action suit may be pursued in cases such as this where a large number of people are affected by a defective product, and certain jurisdictions bar individuals from pursuing litigation outside of the approved class action suit. A product liability lawyer in Houston can make sure that you’re included in that process and not denied just compensation.

So far, the models affected include numerous automakers and units from the past several years; 2007, 2008 and 2009 Camrys are all at risk, as well as RAV4 SUVs, Yaris subcompacts from the 2008 and 2009 model years, and 2008 Highlander Hybrids. So far, over 1.5 million of some of America’s most popular car models have been affected or are at risk, and no doubt some of those were sold in Houston. The investigation is ongoing, but don’t be afraid to be proactive; be on guard if you own one of these models, and if you’ve been affected, don’t hesitate to seek the services of a product liability lawyer.