How is Liability for an Accident With a Recalled Vehicle Determined?

Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Jul 14, 2022  in Car Accidents News

Mechanic fixing a carAlthough most car accidents can be attributed to driver error, it is not always the case. Sometimes, a crash may occur due to a defect in one of the involved vehicles. Liability in these circumstances may be difficult to establish, so having an attorney on your side is important.

Our New Jersey car crash lawyers are prepared to investigate your claim to determine whether the accident occurred due to manufacturer or driver error. If our firm represents you, we are committed to holding the liable party accountable.

Below, we discuss what factors into liability for an accident involving a recalled vehicle.

What Steps Are Involved When a Recall is Issued?

When a recall is issued for a vehicle, it is generally due to a safety issue for one or more parts. Recalls are sometimes voluntary, meaning it is up to the manufacturer to issue it. However, a recall may also be mandatory. For instance, if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) forces the manufacturer to issue a recall.

Some recalls in the past have been issued over defective:

  • Airbags
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Steering
  • Accelerator
  • Windshields
  • Seats
  • Wiring

Once a safety recall is issued, the owner of the vehicle is notified by the manufacturer. This notification includes any non-individual owners, such as a company or government entity that uses the vehicles.

Who is Responsible for Correcting the Recalled Vehicle or Auto Part?

The responsibility of getting a recall resolved falls on the owner of the vehicle once he or she is notified. If the owner fails to take the vehicle for repair, he or she could be held liable for any damages if the recalled issue later leads to an accident.

The manufacturer offers to fix the issue at no cost to vehicle owners. This means there is little room for an argument if a vehicle owner claims he or she could not have reasonably gotten the work done. However, the person may be able to argue there was no opportunity to take the vehicle in for repairs. Especially, if it can be proven that the recall was issued only a few days before the crash. It is worth mentioning that the burden of proving the timeline for this argument falls to the person with the recalled vehicle and not the injury victim.

What if No Recall Has Been Issued But a Defect Causes a Crash?

If a defective vehicle part results in an accident, but no recall had been issued, the manufacturer might be liable for your damages. However, you must be able to prove the manufacturer was aware of the safety issue and failed to take the appropriate steps to issue a recall.

It is important to note that vehicles contain multiple parts that are often manufactured by various parties. For example, defective tires on a vehicle may have caused a collision, but the car manufacturer is not the liable party. In this case, the tire manufacturer may be liable for your damages. However, you will have to prove the company knew its product was defective and failed to issue a recall.

Our attorneys are prepared to investigate whether a vehicle part was defective and contributed to your car crash.

What if the Recall Is Not Issued Until After a Crash Occurs?

Generally, a safety recall may not be issued until the manufacturer or the NHTSA has enough data to support the recall. This means many accidents may occur before either party acts. That does not mean you cannot pursue compensation from the party responsible for the defect. It just might mean the investigation may be more complex and that the manufacturer might try harder to avoid liability.

That is why it is critical to have an attorney on your side. At Lynch Law, we are prepared to help you seek compensation from a negligent party that caused you harm.

What if the Recalled Vehicle Came From a Dealership or Rental Car Shop?

Just like individual vehicle owners have a legal duty to have a recall issue corrected, so do car dealerships and rental car companies. In fact, these companies have a higher standard of care since it is a legal requirement for them to have the issue corrected.

Companies that fail to do this could be in violation of federal law and guilty of negligence per se, making it a little easier for you to prove liability in your case.

Call an Experienced Attorney Today

If you were injured in an accident involving a recalled vehicle, call us today. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience and are prepared to help you throughout the legal process.

The consultation is free and there are no fees while we work on your claim.

Millions recovered. Call (800) 518-0508 today. 

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