Last post on Apr 04, 2011 at 2:02 PM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon
Apr 30, 2005 (7:08 pm)
Hi all and I apologize that this is so long.
I had a 2002 C240 (purchased at the end of March 2002) that was involved in a serious car accident in Feb 04. I was stopped at a light and a drunk driver hit me going about 55mph and pushed me into the van that was stopped in front of me. Both the front and back of the car was severely damaged. The air bag did not go off nor did the seat belt restrain me during the impact and I hit my head on the steering wheel. The vehicle was totaled. Since then I have had continuous back pain and am in need of corrective surgery for the scar that is now on my forehead.
Mercedes Benz was contacted when this happened and they sent an inspector out to look at the vehicle. I received a letter that was very general back from Mercedes Benz stating " The vehicle's seat belt emergency retractors deployed as they were designed to for a belted front occupant when the system's first deployment threshold was reached in the accident. In the circumstance of a belted driver, an air bag will not deploy unless a second higher threshold is reached". Huh? Bottom line is Mercedes Benz denied that the vehicle's emergency devices did not work when they should have. Yes I understand that someone else hit me and the accident was their fault. However, the emergency items are suppose to work and be reliable in an accident. And how high does a threshold have to be for them to work.....the car was toast!
This was my third Mercedes and my last. The company treated me badly after I reported the accident to them and did not even have the professionalism or courtesy to spell my first or last name correctly on their correspondence. I spoke to several attorney's who informed me unless someone dies or loses a limb then it would cost over $100K to sue Mercedes Benz because they would drag it out through the court system.
I know that there is no guarantee with any car that you drive if the equipment is going to work but when you buy a car from a company that is suppose to be one of higher standards then you expect nothing but the best. Obviously Mercedes is no longer a company that is considered of high standards.......if they were then they would not mass produce them as they do now and would make a product of quality not a lot of non-quality products.
I hope that this does not happen to you all and hope that if you are thinking of buying a car from Mercedes or Chrysler (who owns Mercedes) then please think again.
#236 of 886 Re: 2002 C240 [ocean95]
May 02, 2005 (10:46 am)
Dear "ocean 95,"
Sorry to hear about your terrifying accident and subsequent injuries. I know you said that you have spoken with several attorneys regarding Mercedes liability without much success. In case you were interested, I wanted to recommend Krohn & Moss, a nationwide law firm that specifically handles auto manufacturer defects, lemon-law, and breech of warranty. I hope you haven't already exhausted this option. They can be found easily online. Good luck.
#238 of 886 Re: 2002 C240 [gbrown]
May 02, 2005 (2:56 pm)
Gbrown, Thank you for this information. I will look them up. Talking to various Mercedes owners, I understand that Mercedes has had this problem with all models not just the C-class. Computer problems I understand is the biggest complaint. I have two friends who got rid of their Mercedes within 6 months of their purchase. One car was an ML and the other an E-class. I would not put down this problem as one isolated incident because Mercedes no longer makes a quality vehicle. Thanks for your help!
May 02, 2005 (6:40 pm)
...but that's baloney.
IF you have an actionable case against MB in this situation, any reputable attorney willing to work on contingency should be willing to take it. Without seeing pictures of the vehicle, I can only guess at whether the threshold for airbag deployment was reached in this case. Any lawyer who is hesitating is probably hesitating for the right reasons....and here's why:
The car manufacturers have been beaten up lately [by the same legal profession] because of the deployment of airbags that caused MORE injuries than they were designed to prevent in the first place. For this reason, most car makers have set the deployment level quite high for any situation where the seat occupant in front is wearing a belt. You were, your injuries were minor in comparison to the physics involved, and the car did what it was supposed to do - crumple around you to save your life. IF the driver's airbag had deployed, depending on how close to the wheel you sit, you might very well have wound up with far more serious injuries than actually occurred.
I have been hesitant to comment on this, because there is much data that would need to be gathered to make a real judgment - but since you've made it clear that you think Mercedes did not take care of your safety in this case, I have to say....I doubt it very much. I do agree that it should be easy to find a competent attorney to take this case, IF you have a case. The fact that some people have already expressed reservations about doing so without charging you [what was it, over $100,000 ?], makes me wonder about how solid it is.
You've used this forum to tell us that MB makes an unsafe product and doesn't care; I'm using the same forum to disagree about as strongly as I can
And let me make one final point: it is not as if I am unfamiliar with your situation - in the late '80s, my wife and I, and my best friend [who was sitting in the back seat] were involved in a similar incident, with similar speeds and weights involved [a mid-'70s Toronado, weighing nearly 5000 lbs, hitting our '88 Camry from the rear, stopped, with the speed difference being at least 50 mph]. Injuries were minor, including a pretty serious head hit on my buddy against the glass in the back seat [no concussion, but a trip to the hospital anyway]. The car was literally folded up from the back window into a 12-18" clump of metal and rubber. We staggered away, but never thought to blame anybody but the driver of the Olds. I actually was grateful for the fact that Toyota had done its homework, and seemed to have produced a car that would keep us alive in that situation [no fire, no one permanently disabled]. I guess we missed something.
#240 of 886 Re: C230 Battery Issues [jleonard89]
May 02, 2005 (11:39 pm)
Stupid, I have a c220 CDI, a 1998 and it still has the original battery. Its never been charged and does a lot a short trips.
I had a friend who had a nissan that done this and it was part of the main wiring block. In your case I'd suspect the alternator or something is not charging the battery and then draining it when it sits idle.
#241 of 886 Re: 2002 C240 [ocean95]
May 03, 2005 (11:07 am)
By now I am sure that you have read the "sorry...but that's baloney" response to your unfortunate situation. I'm sure that he could have expressed the same opinions in a more constructive manner with much less acerbity of tone. I will attempt to refute with a more amiable approach. Based on his description, the auto accident he was involved in did not involve front-end impact/damage. Your seatbelt should have restrained you enough to prevent you skull from striking the steering wheel. I am sure the attorneys that you met with did not tell you that you did not have a case, only that because you did not sustain a threshold of injury - "loss of life" or "loss of limb" would they be inclined to aggresively pursue a case against Mercedes that would not yield a settlement worthy of their efforts. They are correct when they informed you that Mercedes would drag out the litigation process for as long as they possibly could (years). We currently have an ongoing lawsuit with Mercedes (not involving injuries, but engine failure), and we were advised by the attorneys that Mercedes is indeed known for being one of the worst, if not the worst, in drawing out the "discovery phase" of a lawsuit. We are not paying our attorneys upfront, but on a contingency basis. I hope in your case that the person who injured you, and left you with permament scarring, had adequate BI insurance to cover the extend of damages they caused. That in no way should release Mercedes from liability, but litigation is a challenging process, especially when dealing with vicarious liability.
Don't let others make you feel powerless or crazy, your seatbelt should have deployed and even Mercedes knows that. Unfornately, they also know the laws. They knew you would have difficulty in finding contingency representation. They had nothing to lose by telling you that your seatbelt operated as designed. If you do find representation, Mercedes will "deal with you" then. Again, good luck.
May 03, 2005 (11:35 am)
...without apology for my tone, I will repeat that the original post contained an explicit charge that Mercedes had failed in its duty to protect this driver from harm.
I disagree. Strongly.
And I wish that the uniquely American approach to this, i.e. immediately invoke the legal system to sue everyone in sight, were leavened with just a bit of common sense. That is another discussion.
Let's just say that if you are looking for a car that will be safer than any contemporary Mercedes-Benz, be sure you are asking the right questions. Apparently, in this case, the right questions would include getting an engineer to evaluate the airbag deployment thresholds for all four directions of possible hits, and making sure that whatever new car you pick will be BETTER than an MB in the particular circumstance described in this incident. BMW? Volvo? GM? Ford? Toyota? Honda? Which of these makes a car that will better protect you in this circumstance than an MB? Once you've answered that question, AND can cite the engineering data to back up such an answer, I guess you know what to do.
Acerbic? You bet. The more I thought about this incident, the more disturbed I got. We are being urged to boycott MB and Chrysler products because they "don't care" about safety. We can agree to disagree that this is an appropriate response to this case.
#243 of 886 Re: Well... [jrct9454]
May 04, 2005 (8:40 am)
Airbag deployment aside (I agree that is a discussion which warrants extensive debate), any insights as to why the seatbelt did not properly restrain the driver's head from striking the steering wheel during an accident with front and rear impact/damage resulting in a total loss?
I am unaware that "we are being urged to boycott MB and Chrysler..." You are obviously an advocate of Mercedes and I respect your enthusiasm and insights. Unfortunately, there are those of us who have had bad experiences with the company through no fault of our own. I am sure the majority of automobiles manufactured by MB perform optimally, but they should accept responsibility when they do make the occasional error.
#244 of 886 I'm not an MB advocate, just don't agree with the conclusion
May 04, 2005 (12:49 pm)
"I hope that this does not happen to you all and hope that if you are thinking of buying a car from Mercedes or Chrysler (who owns Mercedes) then please think again."
You can put your own spin on that statement from the original post. It sounds to me like advice not to buy their products.
I am most certainly NOT an "advocate" for Mercedes. They have made more than a reasonable number of mistakes lately, and should be [and are being] taken to the woodshed in the marketplace as a result.
I can't put this any more plainly: I do not believe MB is making an unsafe car. I would need a lot more proof than this one accident description to believe that. And I would want some equal proof that the competitive products [brands cited above] would behave differently in the narrow circumstance of this crash.
Here's my problem: we have here a single crash situation [ and they are all different, by the way ]; the victim says that the car didn't protect him properly; his description of what happened, and how it happened, leave me with a lot of doubts that this is true. We are asked to then draw the conclusion that he is being treated unfairly by MB because they refuse to pay for his injuries. You are willing to agree with him; I am not. I think he has every right to go after the at-fault party [the other driver], but am unwilling to blame MB for any aspect of this. [As noted, I think I would have been a lot more likely to be grateful for a car that protected me as well as this one did him in the circumstances]. I would feel this way whether he were in a Mercedes or a Hyundai, and that is why I challenge everyone reading this to find a safer car [in the described crash situation] than this one.
I just don't buy into the idea that his C240 had some defect that prevented him from walking away unscathed. The seat belt tensioners and the airbags both have thresholds for deployment - the former seems to have been reached, but didn't prevent contact with the steering wheel; the latter clearly wasn't reached, and it might have been just as well, or you could have added a broken nose or fingers to the injury list. I guess I don't believe these systems are going to prevent all injuries in every circumstance. No defect has to exist for this to be true.
I'll shut up, now. Too many of these forums get spoiled by verbal tennis matches. I respect your opinion, but just disagree.