If you have ever dealt with an auto recall before, you probably know how much of an inconvenience it can be. You have to take time out of your busy schedule to get the proper repairs done, and you may not feel confident and safe while driving around your vehicle. Once you have received a recall notice, you should act immediately. You could be at risk of serious injury—or even death.
As a consumer, you have certain legal rights and protections in the case of an automobile recall. Do you know what they are? Knowing your rights can be empowering—and it can also be the best way to protect your own interests. In this blog post, we will give you a brief overview of what to do in the event of a vehicle recall. Know how to stand your ground with automobile companies before you even have to.
You may be wondering how an auto recall happens in the first place. Typically, there are two ways in which an automobile can be recalled. The first way occurs when the manufacturer voluntary recalls a car after finding a defect in their vehicles. The second way occurs when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandates a manufacturer recall. Manufacturers may make both safety-related and non-safety-related recalls. In contrast, the NHTSA will only step in if they believe the defect poses a potential risk to consumers.
As a matter of fact, the NHTSA has two deciding factors when it comes to determining whether or not a recall is necessary. These two factors are (1) whether or not there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment and (2) whether or not the vehicle or vehicle equipment fails to comply with all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. NHTSA-mandated recalls may also occur after a certain amount of related consumer reports have been filed. Once a recall has been issued on your vehicle, you will then receive written notification of the recall in the mail.
According to the NHTSA, drivers of recalled vehicles are entitled to a certain set of consumer rights. Such rights include the right to be informed of the recall in writing; the right to be informed of when the remedy will be available and how long the remedy will take; the right to be provided with the contact information of whom you can call if a problem arises; and the right to have repairs made free of charge. When it comes to manufacturers remedying their defects, the law presents them with three options: refund, repair, or replacement. If a manufacturer fails to offer you one or more of these options, they have violated your consumer rights.
Furthermore, if you find a defect in your vehicle and seek repairs before a recall has been issued, you may be entitled to retroactive reimbursement for any out-of-pocket costs you incurred for the repairs. (However, your right to reimbursement will also hinge upon the dates of both the repair and of the recall issue.) If you feel that your consumer rights have been violated, you should contact an experienced auto recall attorney immediately to discuss what your best options are.
Unfortunately, auto recalls cannot make up for any damages the defect may have inflicted before the recall was issued. After a recall, a manufacturer may refund you for your defect, repair your vehicle for free, or even replace your vehicle altogether. However, this may still not be enough to compensate you for your total losses—especially if you were already injured.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a defective vehicle (or vehicle part), you have the right to seek damages from the negligent party. The negligent party could be the manufacturer, or it could even be the car dealer who deliberately sold you a defective vehicle. In any case, you have the right to file a product liability lawsuit. This is true whether or not the accident happened before or after the recall was issued.
In auto accident cases, product liability lawsuits are generally filed against the manufacturer of a defective and recalled vehicle. These lawsuits are based on the following premises:
However, it is important to note that driving a vehicle after being informed of any defects may lead to you being deemed at least partially at-fault for any accidents. Consequently, this may make you unable to recover maximum compensation in your product liability lawsuit.
You should also note that vehicle and vehicle parts are not the only products that get recalled. Other automobile-related products, such as tires and child restraints, may also get recalled.
Dealing with auto recalls can be tough. You can be the safest driver in the world and still have something go wrong—even your own car. We know that this can be a jarring experience. If you or a loved one were recently injured in a recall-related auto accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country.
We believe you should never have to pay for someone else’s mistakes—and we also know that more stress is the last thing you need on your plate right now. We have helped countless clients resolve their auto recall-related cases successfully. We can help you too. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide product liability attorneys.