Each year, vehicle manufacturers issue safety recalls for defective vehicles they produce. If these defects are not repaired, they may cause accidents, exacerbate the effects of those accidents, or aggravate injuries sustained in an accident. Not every recall is a safety issue; sometimes, manufacturers issue recalls for a defective radio or air conditioning components.
Safety recalls cover systems and components such as brakes, airbags, wiring, and steering systems. If these fail, it could cause serious injury or death. Therefore, it is important to be able to address any issues your car may have.
What Happens When There Is a Recall?
While some recalls make the news (such as the recent Takata airbag and Volkswagen emissions recalls), most do not. However, this does not mean they are not crucial for owners of these cars. You cannot get your vehicle repaired until you know about the defective part and receive instructions related to the recall.
When you buy a car, you should get put on a mailing list for recalls. However, this may only happen If you purchased the vehicle new. It does not usually occur if you buy it used, especially if you buy it from another individual. Still, you need to check regularly to ensure you and your family remain safe.
Manufacturers are obligated to report recalls to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal law requires manufacturers to send out mail notices of recalled parts when they can identify the owners. Furthermore, manufacturers are obliged to repair your recall issues at their own cost.
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How Can I Check for Recalls on My Car?
It is incredibly easy to check to see if a safety recall has been issued for your car or motorcycle. First, locate your vehicle’s VIN number. This may be located in a number of different locations but can commonly be found on the front of your dashboard, near the windshield, the driver side door jamb sticker, or etched onto one or more of the windows. You may also find it on some of your vehicle documentation such as the title, registration, or insurance cards.
Next, go to www.nhtsa.gov, the website for NHTSA. Click on the “Recalls” tab at the top of the screen, then enter your vehicle’s VIN number to check if there is any outstanding recall maintenance for your own vehicle. Done!
You can also sign up to receive email alerts, should any recalls be issued for your vehicle in the future.
What Else Should I Know About Recalls?
There are a few limitations with the NHTSA search, though. It covers only safety-related recalls, not convenience or customer service recalls. Additionally, very new recalls and recalls on vehicles older than 15 years are not included. Imported vehicles not originally destined for the U.S. market and some high-end boutique vehicles are also not included in NHTSA’s database.
Beyond vehicle searches, you can use the NHTSA website to search for recalls on tires, vehicle equipment, and child safety seats.
Aside from searching NHTSA’s database, most new vehicle dealerships will do VIN searches for the brands that they sell. Many manufacturers also have VIN search functions similar to the NHTSA to find recall data on their branded vehicles. There are also some third-party websites that run recall searches using NHTSA data.
Why Is It Important to Stay Up to Date About Recalls?
First of all, safety recalls could put you, your passengers, or others sharing the road with you in danger. Some defective parts could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or otherwise cause a collision. Getting a safety recall repaired as soon as you learn about it is the best way to prevent crashes and injuries.
Recalls do not have set expiration dates, but your rights to enforce the recall and get your car fixed may be limited to a reasonable period. If a manufacturer goes out of business, you will not be able to avail yourself of the recall maintenance.
Similarly, the extent of the maintenance done to your vehicle is limited to a reasonable amount. If the defective part causes damage to your vehicle, you may be entitled to have those damages repaired. However, you can waive the right to a full repair if you ignore a recall notice.
What If a Defective Part Caused My Accident and Injuries?
Vehicle manufacturers and companies that make key parts and components are generally strictly liable for making safe, working, and durable goods. If the products they manufacture are dangerous or defective, they may be legally responsible for any injuries, property damages, and expenses that result.
If you were hurt because of a defective car part, you may have options for seeking damages. This could include:
- Filing an insurance claim against the manufacturer
- Suing the liable party or parties
- Joining a mass tort, if one exists
If enough people suffered injuries before a recall was issued, these cases could support a mass tort. This could be a class action lawsuit or multidistrict litigation, depending on the facts of the case.
The best way to learn about your options after a collision is to speak with a car accident attorney who handles defective parts cases. You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, vehicle repairs, and more regardless of if there was a recall issued on your vehicle.
An attorney will be able to assess:
- What caused your crash
- If a defective part might be to blame
- If there is a recall for the part in question
- If there are others who have suffered injuries from the same part failure
- Who is legally liable for the accident
- What your options are for seeking a financial recovery
Most personal injury firms offer free consultations for those hurt in this type of traffic accident, regardless of whether the defective part came from their vehicle or a car driven by someone else.
Speak to a Lawyer from Morris Bart, LLC About Your Crash Today for Free
If you were injured due to a defective product, contact the personal injury attorneys at Morris Bart today. We offer free consultations for accident victims and represent clients with no upfront expenses. We only charge attorney’s fees if you receive a settlement or jury award.
You can fill out the free case evaluation form, Live Chat with us, or call us at (800) 537-8185. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We have offices across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.
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