While most accidents are a result of driver error, there are some that occur because of a recalled part. These accidents can be incredibly dangerous because recalls often prevent vehicles from functioning as they should.
What happens if you are injured in an accident involving a recalled vehicle? Who may be liable for your damages?
Our knowledgeable Fort Worth-area car crash lawyers may be able to discuss your legal options during a free consultation. You have the right to pursue compensation if you were injured by someone else’s negligent actions, but the process may be complicated. Let our attorneys help you throughout the legal process so you may focus on recovering from your injuries.
Below, we discuss how liability for a recalled vehicle accident may be determined and how we may be able to help.
What Prompts a Vehicle Recall?
When a recall is issued for a vehicle, it is usually because there is some concern over the safety of one or more of its parts. Whether the airbag is faulty or there is an issue with the brake system, there have been numerous voluntary or mandatory recalls from manufacturers or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
According to the NHTSA, a safety defect is a problem that exists in a motor vehicle, or one of its parts, that poses a risk to motor vehicle safety, and may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacturer.
What is the Vehicle Owner’s Responsibility After a Recall is Issued?
Once a recall is issued, the owner of the vehicle will be notified by the manufacturer and instructed on what steps to take next. Some recalls may be corrected by the owner of the vehicle, but generally the issue needs to be fixed by the manufacturer at no cost to the owner. The NHTSA then monitors each safety recall to make sure owners receive safe, free and effective remedies from the manufacturers.
It is very important that vehicle owners take the necessary steps to have their recalled vehicles fixed. This is usually done by visiting a nearby dealership where the repair is conducted free of charge. If the dealership refuses to fix the issue, the owner of the vehicle needs to report it to the NHTSA and provide as many details as possible.
What if the Recalled Issue Caused the Accident?
If a recall issue is what causes an accident that left you injured, liability could depend on several factors.
Since the responsibility to correct the recalled issue falls to the owner of the vehicle, it is important to establish who owns it and what steps were taken to fix the problem.
A vehicle owner may be liable if he or she knew about the recall but failed to take the vehicle in for service. Especially since he or she would not be burdened by cost due to the service being free of charge.
Commercial vehicle companies are also legally required to take the same steps to have a recall issue fixed. Dealerships and car rental companies are required to remove recalled vehicles from their lots to keep customers safe. Therefore, if these businesses fail to act, they could bear liability if you get injured in a crash with one of their recalled vehicles.
What if a Defect Caused the Crash, But There is No Recall?
Before a recall can be issued, the NHTSA or manufacturer must know about safety issues. That means these issues must be reported. That is why there are times when a defect in the vehicle causes a collision, but a recall has not yet been issued. When this happens, liability may fall to the manufacturer of the vehicle or the manufacturer of the defective part.
Sometimes only a few vehicles have the defect, and this may not be enough to prompt a nationwide recall. That does not mean your case is less valid or that the manufacturer bears no responsibility for your damages. It just means a more thorough investigation may be necessary.
What if the Recall is Not Issued Until After the Crash?
If the issue that caused the accident prompts an investigation by the NHTSA and a recall is issued later, the manufacturer may still bear financial liability for your damages. This might even make building a strong case for compensation a bit easier since multiple parties are likely to have experienced the same issues or similar injuries.
Call a Knowledgeable Attorney Today for Assistance
Liability for an accident caused by a recalled vehicle may be complex, but our knowledgeable attorneys are prepared to help you through the legal process.
We do not charge you anything up front and there are no fees while we work on your case. There is no risk to you.
Call (817) 920-9000 to schedule a free consultation.