With vehicle recalls a real possibility for all Americans, the issue of legal liability for car safety recalls is an important question. Is a vehicle manufacturer liable for car safety recalls? Here’s what you need to know from our Las Vegas car accident lawyers.
Accident in a Recalled Car
Between 30 million and 50 million vehicles are recalled in the United States each year. An accident in a recalled car creates multiple questions of legal liability. The car manufacturer may be liable for the accident because of the vehicle defect. In addition, any of the drivers involved in the crash may be legally liable for an accident that results because of a driving error. When there’s an accident in a recalled car, the cause of the accident is critically important in determining legal liability.
Can I Get a New Car If My Car Is Recalled?
In most cases, you cannot get a new car if your car is recalled. Usually, the car manufacturer performs repairs at no cost to the vehicle owner. There may be some cases where the vehicle manufacturer chooses to replace the vehicle instead of fixing it. However, there is no legal obligation for the car manufacturer to give you a new vehicle. Instead, the manufacturer usually performs repairs free of charge for the vehicle.
Recalled Cars and Legal Liability
Recalled cars involve a number of questions of legal liability:
Does the Vehicle Manufacturer Avoid Legal Liability by Issuing a Recall?
No, a vehicle manufacturer doesn’t avoid legal liability by issuing a recall. Products liability still applies to the car manufacturer in the same way that it applies if there is no recall. The manufacturer can’t escape legal liability by rushing to issue a recall when there’s a problem with a car. Instead, the manufacturer has the legal liability to make and sell only safe products.
Products liability is high for car manufacturers and all products manufacturers. While recall efforts are commendable, they’re not enough to shield the automaker from legal liability. The manufacturer may still have legal liability for the fact that they placed a dangerous product into the stream of commerce.
In fact, legal liability for the motor vehicle driver doesn’t change much because of the recall. To some extent, the existence of a recall is a separate, unrelated event. A voluntary or involuntary recall isn’t enough to allow the manufacturer to avoid legal liability to injured victims.
Car Recalls and Modified Comparative Negligence
Modified comparative negligence may become an issue if a vehicle driver fails to respond to a recall notice. The vehicle manufacturer may argue that the driver was negligent for continuing to drive the vehicle, knowing that there was a defect.
Failing to respond to the defect doesn’t automatically bar recovery from an accident victim. However, a jury may reduce the victim’s compensation based on the fact that the accident may not have occurred or may have been less severe if they had gotten the repairs done.
Is the Vehicle Manufacturer Automatically Legally Liable If There’s a Recall?
No, the vehicle manufacturer is not automatically legally liable if there’s a recall. A recall isn’t an admission of a defective product. Lawmakers want car manufacturers to take active steps to fix problems with vehicles before they have a chance to cause harm. Whether a vehicle has a defect that warrants a nationwide recall is different from the state legal standards that apply to defective products.
However, a safety recall is a big sign that the car manufacturer has product liability because of a defect. While you can’t use the recall as proof, the defect behind the recall is strong proof that there is a defect with the car that is legally actionable. You simply need to make the claim that the car manufacturer placed an unreasonably dangerous product into the stream of commerce. You may bring your claim using traditional negligence principles or using Nevada’s law for products liability, NRS 695E.090.
Manufacturer Liability for Negligence Recall
Another way that a car manufacturer may be liable for a recall is when they are negligent in the way that they conduct the recall. When there’s a recall on the vehicle, the manufacturer must go about it with sufficient care.
That means adequately publicizing the recall to ensure that people have a reasonable chance to find out about it. Owners need clear instructions for how to go about having their vehicle repaired. If a vehicle manufacturer conducts its recall effort poorly, it may be grounds for legal liability if an accident occurs that involves the defective vehicle.
How to Win a Lawsuit for an Accident With a Recalled Car
To win a lawsuit for an accident with a recalled car, you must prove that the accident occurred because of the vehicle defect. You must also prove that you have losses like damage to the vehicle, personal injuries, or other injuries. You may base your claim on products liability and ordinary negligence.
How Can a Lawyer for Accidents in Recalled Vehicles Help Me?
A lawyer for accidents in recalled vehicles can help you bring your case effectively. Any accident in a recalled vehicle is complex. Multiple issues surround the event of the recall, the defects with the car, and issues of comparative negligence. Your attorney can help you raise the proper issues and gather the evidence to make your claim successful.
Contact Our Attorneys for Accidents in Recalled Cars
Have you been in a car accident? Is a car recall an issue for your car accident? Our attorneys can help. The attorneys at Adam S. Kutner & Associates have experience assisting victims of complex car accidents.
Let our team help you manage the complex issues that are present in any car recall case. Let us advocate for you to raise the correct legal issues, gather the necessary evidence, and pursue your claim to a just result. There’s no cost to call and speak with our legal team. We’re here to help you fight for justice. Call us today.