Recalls, Responsibilities and Rights
You were in an automobile accident and the airbags never deployed. You and your passengers suffered injuries and trauma. The person who hit your vehicle didn’t have insurance. So who’s responsible? Is the other vehicle driver responsible? Or is the car manufacturer? Or perhaps the airbag manufacturer? Or maybe your mechanic who last inspected your car is responsible?
When airbags fail to work as designed during an accident the consumer (the one being affected) has certain rights that protect them. But those rights have limits and during a legal consultation we need to look at all the variables to determine who is ultimately responsible.
Was it the airbag manufacturer?
Was it the vehicle manufacturer?
Was it the mechanic?
Or was it the fault of another’s negligence?
Or was it consumer omission?
Usually, we can solve all those questions by looking at the recall history of that vehicle. A recall notice is issued when certain products (such as airbags, seat belts, bolts and brackets, electrical switches, stabilizers, etc.) are found to be defective in some way and that the vehicle manufacturer has agreed to fix at their expense.
As a consumer you have certain rights when your vehicle is recalled. Depending on the circumstances and the severity of the defect, you may have the right to repairs, monetary damage and other remedies.
Was a recall notice issued? If so, when?
Was the recall notice sent to the consumer? If so, when and where was it sent?
Did the mechanic know about the recall and inform the consumer? If so, when?
If you as the consumer knew about the recall and decided to ignore the notice and not make an appointment due to whatever reason, that omission could be the end of your claim. In Indiana you have two years to bring a lawsuit for injuries related to product liability, personal injury and property damage.
Some auto repair shops have programs that automatically show them, based on the vehicles identification number (VIN), whether a recall notice has been issued and for what part or problem. Some will indeed let the consumers know about safety issues. Others may not as it directs the consumer to another shop for the repair. If you have a Ford you can only have it fixed by a Ford dealer, same with Honda and Toyota brands. So your favorite owner-operator mechanic who repairs all makes and models doesn’t want you going elsewhere even if it means safety is an issue.
As the consumer maybe you just never knew. The recall notice was never sent to you and you had no idea that your airbags were defective in anyway. And if your vehicle is more than 15 years old some manufacturers will only post the recall on their online system. Again putting the onus of that information out to the mechanics to share or not share with the consumer.
So why do I share this information with you? I share it to give you a better understanding of how recalls can effect an injury case and some of the things lawyers will ask to get to the truth of the matter.
If you would like to know about your vehicle and if any recalls have been issued go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website and enter your VIN to get started. If you discover your vehicle has a recall, please schedule as soon as possible to have that recall fixed. Here’s their website… www.nhtsa.gov/recalls
Passenger vehicles must meet federal standards specifying minimum safety levels, but some vehicles perform better than others. Additionally, though standards help improve overall safety, many dangers are not addressed in government safety regulations. If you have been injured in an automobile-related accident, and the injury was caused by a defective or poorly designed component, call today to schedule a consultation with an experienced products liability attorney.
The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation.
The firm concentrates in personal injury cases of all types, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation. We work tirelessly to serve each client aggressively and with empathy, to communicate regularly and clearly, and to obtain prompt and favorable results, while adhering to the highest standards of excellence and integrity. Our team considers it a high honor to be called upon to serve our clients whom we often come to regard as our friends.
Call (219)736-9700 to schedule a consultation or click on the “live chat” box below to talk with our online team.