How To Deal With A Vehicle Recall

How To Deal With A Vehicle Recall

January 17, 2018 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
How To Deal With A Vehicle Recall

There are several things you need to know about vehicle recalls, from what they mean to how you will be notified and the steps you need to take to stay safe. These issues are explained below so you know what to do if your vehicle is ever part of a recall. The experienced Cincinnati product liability lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy are committed to keeping people safe on the road. If you were injured because of a defective product in your vehicle, we can discuss your situation during a confidential and complimentary consultation.

What Is A Car Recall?

A car recall happens when a vehicle manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) alerts the public about a safety-related defect. Federal law requires vehicle manufacturers to protect the public from problems that create an unreasonable risk of a car accident, such as those caused by defects in the vehicle. Safety defects include any problems that pose a risk to occupants in the vehicle and might exist in a group of particular models of vehicles or automotive parts. These defects may include:
  • Wheels that break
  • Wiring problems that can result in fires
  • Windshield wipers that do not operate properly
  • Accelerator controls that stick
  • Fuel system problems that can result in fires
  • Defective airbags
  • Steering components that break or stick in place
Some defects can cause serious injury or death, like defective Takata airbags. A problem with the propellant in these devices can cause them to spray shrapnel when the airbags are deployed.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards establish minimum performance requirements related to major components of the vehicle, including brakes, tires and lighting as well as items that are intended to protect vehicle occupants, such as seat belts and child restraints. Car recalls can be issued if a vehicle is not compliant with these federal safety standards.

Will I Be Notified Of A Recall?

The manufacturer of the affected vehicle model must notify car owners within 60 days of alerting the NHTSA. The manufacturer sends all registered owners of the vehicle or product a notification of the recall via first-class mail. State motor vehicle offices may provide names of vehicle owners to assist with this process. The recall letter includes pertinent information such as:
  • A description of the defect
  • The potential risk the defect causes
  • The types of injuries the defect may cause
  • Warning signs of the problem
  • The manufacturer’s plan regarding how to fix the problem
  • Instructions on how the owner can correct the problem
If you believe that your vehicle is part of a recall but you did not receive a recall letter, you can visit the NHTSA Safety Issues & Recalls website to find out if your vehicle is involved.

Do I Need To Fix A Recalled Car Immediately?

A typical recall letter will instruct you to contact your local dealer to set up a repair appointment. Some recalls are very serious in nature, involving a defect that can result in injury or death if not immediately corrected. In these situations, it is important to have your vehicle repaired as quickly as possible.

Do I Have To Pay To Have My Car Fixed?

Most recalls involve a small repair that needs to be made by your local dealer. Owners are not usually required to pay to fix the problem. However, if your vehicle is more than 10 years old, you will not be eligible for a free remedy. Whether the fix is free or not, you should repair it right away to avoid safety risks.

Contact An Experienced Product Liability Lawyer For Help

If you are hurt because of a defective vehicle or automotive part, it is important to contact an experienced product liability lawyer to learn about your legal options. The experienced product defect lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can review the facts of your case and determine what compensation may be available for your claim. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so we do not charge for our services unless you receive compensation.