Millions of vehicle recalls are sent out for thousands of vehicle safety risks every year. Despite these notices issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), millions of these vehicles never get repaired. Unfortunately, these unrepaired defects can contribute to or even cause a serious car accident.
What if a collision you are injured in turns out to be caused by a recalled vehicle? What if your vehicle was recalled but never repaired? How could these situations impact you in a car crash? Who is responsible for making sure the safety issues of a recalled vehicle get repaired?
Unfortunately, crashes sometimes happen despite your best efforts to avoid being in or causing one. When they do, having an experienced lawyer on your side throughout the legal process helps to ensure you recover full and fair compensation.
Learn more about vehicle recalls below, including how they could impact your injury claim after an accident.
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What is a Vehicle Recall and Why Does it Matter?
A vehicle recall is an official notice issued by either the manufacturer or NHTSA to inform vehicle owners of a safety issue. The safety risk could involve anything to do with a vehicle’s design or mechanical operation. Some recent examples of vehicle recalls issued include:
- Audi – various models – electrical system failure and rearview camera failure
- Kia – 2023 Sportage SUV side curtain airbag defects.
- Honda Ridgelines – failing rearview camera
- Nissan Rogue SUV – corroded dash side harness connectors
- Ford Escape and Bronco Sport – fuel leak inside the engine compartment
- Tesla Model 3 and Model Y – failing taillights
- Tesla Model X – airbag failures
These are just a few of the thousands of vehicle recalls issued every year. Vehicle recalls are not sent out for minor reasons. The NHTSA issues a vehicle recall when they determine a defect could cause harm to others. For instance, rearview camera failures impair a driver’s view. This could greatly increase the risk of a backing-up crash.
Why Vehicle Recalls Matter
If you get a vehicle recall notice, it means your vehicle has a defect that makes it unsafe. Under the law, drivers must maintain their vehicles. This duty to keep your vehicle in safe operating condition includes getting safety issues from a vehicle recall repaired.
What Triggers a Vehicle Recall?
A few scattered accidents in a specific vehicle model are not usually enough to set off a vehicle recall. However, once a manufacturer is aware a repeat problem, a thorough investigation follows. The purpose of this step is to identify the defect and what needs to happen to resolve it.
Either a vehicle manufacturer or the NHTSA may discover and identify the safety risk of a vehicle. Not matter how it happens, once the defect is identified, a vehicle recall is issued.
What is Your Legal Duty if You Get a Vehicle Recall?
If you receive a notice about a vehicle recall, it is critical that you take it seriously. The first thing you should do is read it in full. The vehicle recall notice should tell you several things, including:
- Why you have received a vehicle recall notice – for instance if your car has a mechanical defect
- How and where you can get the defect repaired or replaced at no cost to you
- Whether the defect impacts your ability to drive the vehicle prior to getting the defect fixed
It is worth mentioning that repairs for vehicle recalls should be free of charge to you. This free repair is not promised if you go to a private mechanic. This is why you should read your notice carefully and make sure you know where to get it repaired.
It is important to take vehicle recall notices seriously. If a crash happens and that defect contributes to or causes the crash, you would likely be liable for the damages.
What if You Receive a Vehicle Recall After a Crash Has Occurred?
Unfortunately, this can happen. Vehicle defects are not usually discovered until after several accidents caused by the same issue bring it to light. That said, if an investigation determines a vehicle defect contributed to or caused your car accident, you may have legal options against the manufacturer.
As a driver, you may have noticed that your vehicle did not respond as you expected it to. You should mention this in your statement to the police officer who responds to the crash. For example, did your vehicle suddenly accelerate without you pressing down on the gas? Did it roll away without warning, despite being properly parked?
If you find yourself in this situation, we strongly recommend seeking legal help immediately. Having an attorney on your side can ensure you get a full and proper investigation.
Are There Other Ways to Find Out if Your Vehicle Was Recalled?
We strongly recommend routinely checking to see if any recalls have been issued for your vehicle. This is especially critical if you drive an older vehicle or one that you purchased privately. We also recommend checking any used vehicle for recalls before you purchase it.
You can check a vehicle for existing vehicle recalls on the NHTSA website.
What if a Recalled Vehicle Caused Your Crash?
There are a couple of ways this could go. If you were issued a vehicle recall and failed to get it repaired within a reasonable amount of time, you could be held liable for the damages.
However, if the other party is deemed liable because of an unrepaired vehicle recall, then he or she would likely be liable. That said, you would still have to provide proof of his or her negligence.
To do this, there are several factors to consider:
- Whether the owner knew or should have known about the vehicle recall
- When the owner received notice about the vehicle recall
- Was the notice clear, including whether it was safe to keep driving the vehicle?
- Did the owner have a reasonable amount of time to get the repair done?
- Was it evident that the notice issued was issued by the NHTSA or the manufacturer?
This is something an experienced lawyer can help you with. Proving negligence is not something you should have to do on your own, especially while recovering from your crash injuries.
Did a Recalled Vehicle Cause Your Crash? Call our Trusted Law Firm Today
If you were injured in a crash involving a recalled vehicle, we strongly recommend seeking legal help right away. Having a knowledgeable attorney communicate on your behalf may greatly benefit the outcome of your claim.
Our firm has the resources and staff to fully investigate the crash that caused your injuries. Contact our law offices at your convenience, 24/7, to discuss your situation. If you have a case and you decide to take legal action, you can hire our services at no cost to you. We charge nothing up front or throughout the legal process. We only receive our fee if we win your case.
Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. (717) 727-1403