Most crashes are the result of driver error, but some are caused by a mechanical issue that is part of a recall. When this happens, the driver may be at fault if he or she knew about the recall and failed to address it. However, sometimes the manufacturer is liable because the victim did not yet know of the recall.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a defective or recalled vehicle, you may be able to seek compensation from multiple parties, including the manufacturer. Below, Gordon & Partners further discusses vehicle recalls, including how a vehicle recall may impact your claim and what you can do to protect your right to compensation after a crash with a recalled vehicle.
The initial consultation we offer is 100 percent free so there is no risk to you. You are under no obligation after meeting with one of our attorneys to move forward, but if you do, we charge zero upfront fees to use our services. We only receive payment if we help you obtain a recovery.
What is Involved in a Vehicle Recall?
A vehicle recall is a notice that is issued when a safety issue has been identified in one or more vehicles. A recall can be initiated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or by the vehicle manufacturer. Millions of vehicles are recalled each year in the U.S. for various defects.
For instance, certain vehicle equipment, such as airbags and tires, are commonly recalled for creating an unreasonable safety risk or for failing to meet the minimum safety standards.
A vehicle recall involves the following:
- The NHTSA or the manufacturer notifying vehicle owners of the make, model and year of the vehicles affected
- A description of the part or product on the vehicle that may be defective
- Information about the risks and hazards posed by the defect and any warning signs to help identify the defects in question
- An explanation of how the issue will be fixed, including when vehicle owners can get repairs done – in severe cases, the vehicle may need to be returned because it is deemed dangerous
- Instructions on what vehicle owners should do next if their vehicle was recalled
Vehicle manufacturers are required to repair, replace or provide a refund for the vehicle or its parts at no charge and within a reasonable time frame. If the recall only states that you can repair your vehicle or piece of equipment, that is the only option. Impacted vehicle owners cannot ask for a full refund.
How Do I Check If My Vehicle Has an Open Recall?
The NTHSA site allows you to check if your vehicle has or has had an open recall. Any safety-related issues are reported to this agency. Another option is to check with the manufacturer to see if there has been a recall on your specific vehicle model. You can also contact the local dealership that sells your brand of vehicle. They may be able to provide information on whether your vehicle has been recalled.
The Vehicle is Defective, But There is No Recall
Manufacturers have an obligation in ensuring that any vehicle, part or equipment put on the market is safe to use. They must protect consumers from an unreasonable risk of danger, such as a crash.
You have certain rights when buying a vehicle. This includes the right to reasonably expect that the vehicle is not defective and is safe to operate. You also have the right to expect that the vehicle conforms to the warranty and complies with state and/or federal safety standards.
If your accident was caused by a defect in your vehicle but there is no recall for that defect, the vehicle manufacturer may be responsible for your injuries and damages. You may be able to seek compensation to help cover medical expenses and lost income from missing work while in recovery.
If the Vehicle Owner Knew of an Existing Recall Before the Crash
In the event of a crash, the manufacturer may argue that the vehicle owner knew or should have known about the existing recall. If the vehicle owner had the opportunity to get the issue fixed but failed to, he or she could be held liable if a crash happens. Vehicle owners have a duty to maintain their vehicles so they are safe to drive. This includes getting routine oil changes as well as rotating the vehicle’s tires.
A vehicle owner may share liability for a crash based on several factors:
- How long ago the vehicle owner received notice of the recall
- The extent of the defect and its role in causing the crash
- How the vehicle owner was given notice of the vehicle recall
- The clarity of instructions given to the owner about the recall
- Proof that the vehicle owner was sent the vehicle recall notice
- If the owner had reasonable time to fix the issue before the crash
If the Defective Vehicle Was Recalled After the Accident
What if your accident was due to a vehicle defect and later there was a recall for that safety issue?
This happens quite often. Recalls are often issued after a wave of crashes caused by a previously undiscovered or unidentified vehicle defect. In this situation, your legal options will be based on the steps you have already taken to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
- You may have filed a claim through your insurance company; or
- Taken legal action against the manufacturer of the vehicle.
Whether you have taken these steps or are thinking about your next steps, it is in your best interest to reach out to an experienced attorney. He or she can help determine the best course of action for you.
Contact Gordon & Partners for Trusted Legal Help
A vehicle accident attorney in West Palm Beach is ready to help if you have been in a crash involving a recalled vehicle. Our firm has a proven track record, having successfully recovered millions in compensation for our clients over more than two decades.
Our intake staff is available to take your call anytime, day or night, and set up your risk-free consultation, with zero-obligation. There is no upfront cost to you to hire our firm.
Call today to discuss legal options. 1 (855) 722-2552