Making Claims on Auto Manufacturer Recalls

Car with Faulty Parts
Motor vehicles are a vital part of everyday life in the United States. Many people rely on vehicles to get to work and transport their families. According to Statista, as of 2022, only 12% of American adults don’t own a vehicle.

The volume of motor vehicles on U.S. roadways is one of the reasons the government sets regulations to promote safety. Despite these efforts, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 42,000 people died in car accidents in 2021. Ensuring motor vehicles operate safely saves lives. Consequently, when manufacturers realize something in a vehicle doesn’t work as intended, they may issue a vehicle recall. Each year, millions of drivers are affected by vehicle recalls. Let’s explore your legal rights if you’re injured in a car accident due to a recalled vehicle or if your vehicle’s recalled.

What is a recall in the car industry?

A car is recalled when the NHTSA or manufacturer concludes an automobile’s feature poses a safety problem. Vehicles and tires must meet the safety standards for operation. 

Manufacturers can issue voluntary recalls. These recalls occur before the NHTSA determines a specific make and model poses a significant safety risk. The NHTSA can issue a mandatory recall if they determine a safety risk the manufacturer hasn’t addressed through a voluntary recall. 

What is the purpose of a vehicle recall?

Some vehicle recalls ensure that vehicle features work as expected. Other recalls can improve vehicle safety and may even prevent car accidents. 

Why are so many vehicles recalled?

Car design has evolved since manufacturers introduced the first motor vehicles. Today, cars can include multiple features, such as heated seats, sound systems, and blindspot monitoring systems. The more systems and features a vehicle has, the greater the chance that something will malfunction. 

Although vehicle manufacturers test vehicles before they’re released, there are factors they can’t simulate perfectly in test scenarios. Wear and tear on purchased vehicles can impact system performance, highlighting potential issues with vehicle features. 

Who pays for a vehicle recall?

When the NHTSA or a vehicle manufacturer issues a recall, the manufacturer usually absorbs the cost of repairs. Federal law protects car owners from incurring the costs as long as their vehicle isn’t more than 15 years old. 

Some vehicles are subject to a total recall. In these situations, the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or pay the owner the vehicle’s fair market value. 

Can you sue the manufacturer for a car recall?

Car owners can sue manufacturers when a car is recalled. Two main scenarios could prompt you to consider a lawsuit.

Suppose you receive a total recall for your vehicle. In that case, the manufacturer may not offer a refund that covers the amount you owe. In that case, you can sue the manufacturer for car recall compensation to cover your losses.

Accidents are another reason to sue a manufacturer over a recalled vehicle. You can file a lawsuit against car dealership for negligence if you’re in a motor vehicle accident caused by a recalled vehicle. 

What should you do if you’re in an accident involving a recalled vehicle?

Big Car Accident
These are some steps you should take following a motor vehicle accident:

  • Assess your physical condition
  • Determine if anyone needs medical care
  • Call for an ambulance
  • Call the police
  • Get the names and phone numbers of other motorists involved
  • Get the motorists’ insurance information
  • Note the make and model of the vehicles
  • Get witnesses’ names and phone numbers
  • Contact a personal injury lawyer
  • Photograph or video the accident scene

 

Taking these steps ensures you comply with accident reporting laws and protect your legal rights following an accident. Gathering evidence and contact information at the scene ensures you can protect your legal rights after an accident. 

What shouldn’t you do after an accident?

Your actions after an accident may be subject to scrutiny. Do not do any of the following things after an accident:

  • Drive away
  • Refuse to exchange information
  • Admit responsibility
  • Destroy evidence

 

Taking any of these steps can cause legal issues following an accident. You must avoid mitigating the responsibility of any party at the scene because other motorists may try to limit their liability. You can immediately receive legal guidance at the scene by contacting a car accident lawyer. 

Who can help you protect your legal rights after a car recall?

Car Broken Down from Recalled Parts
Personal injury lawyers handle tort law cases, such as car accidents and suits stemming from defective products. You can Google “recall lawyers near me” to find attorneys with experience handling vehicle recall lawsuits.

How much does hiring an attorney cost?

You can request a free consultation to discuss your case with a licensed attorney and determine if you qualify to pursue a claim against a vehicle manufacturer. Injury lawyers usually offer a contract featuring a contingency fee. Contingency fees equal a percentage of the settlement the client receives. You won’t pay a cent to hire your attorney or pursue your case if they charge a contingency fee. Your lawyer will take their contracted share of the settlement when they resolve your case.

How long do you have to determine whether to take legal action?

Almost all laws include a statute of limitations. In most cases, the statute of limitations prevents people from pursuing legal action after the statute has elapsed. In Nevada, personal injury and wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. 

Several factors affect lawsuits against manufacturers for recalled vehicles. The manufacturer must comply with federal laws and ensure recall information is available online and free to access. However, the recall information must be private. 

Recalls may include a time limit for pursuing a claim, and motorists that fail to pursue a claim within that timeframe may not be able to pursue a lawsuit. An auto accident attorney with product recall experience can evaluate your case and determine whether you have legal grounds to pursue a lawsuit.

Can you be sued for driving a recalled vehicle?

You may be exposed to legal action if you ignore a vehicle recall and the recall causes an accident. Injured motorists, cycles, or pedestrians may file a contributory negligence suit. 

In these cases, you may still qualify for compensation from the manufacturer. Several factors determine contributory negligence and legal culpability. Therefore, hiring a personal injury attorney ensures you protect your legal rights. 

What will your car accident attorney do for you?

Law book with Gavel & Personal Injury Text
Your injury lawyer will investigate the accident and gather all relevant information. They’ll use that information to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver. Your attorney can also pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer if a recall contributed to the accident.

Your attorney will fight to ensure you receive fair compensation following your accident. They’ll pursue compensation for property damage and other expenses, such as medical bills. Your attorney can also seek compensation for loss of income and pain and suffering from your injuries. 

Our injury attorneys will help you navigate the legal process. We’ll explore every legal option to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve if your vehicle’s recalled or you’re in an accident involving a recalled vehicle.

 

Sources

Car ownership in the U.S. in 2022. (2022). 

Newly Released Estimates Show Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year High in 2021. (2022). 

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Adam S. Kutner

Adam S. Kutner Personal Injury Lawyer

With more than 31 years of experience fighting for victims of personal injury in the Las Vegas valley, Attorney Adam S. Kutner knows his way around the Nevada court system and how to get clients their settlement promptly and trouble-free.