Car safety and reliability has improved dramatically over the last twenty years. Still, for all of the improvements vehicle manufacturers have made to their products over the years, auto manufacturer recalls still occur regularly. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that 2017 had more vehicle recalls than it had new vehicles sold. For drivers uncertain what this process means, the following should help:
What Is a Recall?
Recalls are issued when enough complaints come in about a particular vehicle feature. The problem must be present in many of the same year, make, and model of vehicle for a recall to occur. Sometimes auto manufacturer recalls come from the manufacturer itself, but the NHTSA can issue recalls on its own as well.
Why Do Recalls Occur?
Recalls can come for many reasons; any defect that affects safety for the vehicle can result in a recall. Risk of fire, leaks, brake malfunction, or likelihood of breakdowns are just some of the reasons a recall may occur.
How Do Drivers Know When a Recall Is Issued?
If an auto recall occurs, the manufacturer has 60 days from the time it becomes aware of the issue to act. It will send a notice by email or mail to let the owner know of the recall. In addition, the NHTSA website maintains a database of all issued recalls; drivers can look online to find out whether any auto manufacturer recalls affect their vehicles.
How Do Drivers Get Their Vehicles Repaired?
Once a recall notice comes, vehicle owners should go to an authorized dealer repair facility. The manufacturer must pay for the repairs–or at times even a new vehicle–if the car is no more than eight years old. Depending on the repairs needed, the dealership may offer a courtesy car as well.
What If the Recalled Issue Is Not Repaired?
If a safety recall exists and the owner does not get it repaired, the owner can still sue for product liability. The manufacturer will argue that the owner is partially or fully at fault for injuries that result from an accident caused by the defect. Liability will depend on whether the defect at issue in the recall was the main or primary cause of the accident, as opposed to a separate issue causing it.
What If the Owner Does Not Receive Notice?
The best thing for owners to do is to check the NHTSA website regularly. This is especially important when the owner was not the original owner, as manufacturers may not have up to date information to notify them of auto manufacturer recalls issued. If the manufacturer does not give required notice of the recall, though, the owner can argue that he or she had no reason to know before the accident that a defect was present.
Manufacturers will usually argue that once they issue a recall, they are not responsible for accidents due to that defect. To fight this defense, drivers need strong legal representation. Swift, fierce, and female. We will fight for your injury compensation.
If your car was recalled and you had an accident and were injured we have over 25 years experience in auto accident injury litigation. We understand the pain and suffering and the need for just compensation. Free consultation and case evaluation. There are no fees if there is no recovery.