How Can a Car Recall Impact a Personal Injury Claim?

product recall notice

Most consumer products on the market today are highly complex devices with large and small moving parts. Cars are some of the most complex items we use every day, and this complexity leaves room for errors, should there be a problem with any component piece. As a result, product recalls—particularly car recalls—are both important and relatively commonplace. Recalls allow companies to quickly identify and respond to safety problems in their products. However, after someone is hurt by a defective car part that had been recalled, what role could that recall play as you seek recovery in a personal injury lawsuit? Keep reading to find out. Don’t forget to call a San Mateo County, California car accident lawyer if you’ve been injured by a defective car. We’ve dealt with all sorts of car injury-related cases and we’ve fought hard to get our clients their well-deserved compensation.

What Is a Car Recall?

When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or a manufacturer notes that a vehicle has some dangerous part or feature, either may issue a recall. In the recall, the manufacturer will be responsible for reaching out to vehicle owners about repairing the dangerous part or feature. At this time, sellers and distributors should be notified so they take the dangerous product off the market. Car owners should be notified so that

Make sure to keep your car’s ownership current, so that the manufacturer can contact you, particularly if you decide to move later. For a more modern option, the NHTSA has an app called SaferCar, which will send you alerts about car recalls.

Once you’ve received notice of the recall, contact an authorized dealer for repairs as per the recall. The authorized dealer should have heard about the recall from direct communication with the manufacturer. The manufacturer is legally required to pay for any repairs within ten years of your car’s original purchase.

Common causes of car recalls in California include problems with seat belts, brakes, airbags, and tires, among other car parts. A minor defect might be a faulty window, whereas some of the most dangerous defects could include a defective fuel pump that allows the engine to catch fire.

How Does a Car Recall Affect Personal Injury Lawsuits?

If you were harmed by a vehicle that was subject to a recall, you may have a right to compensation, just the same as you might were you injured by any other product. Your lawyer would pursue your claim through product liability.

Product liability law holds manufacturers, distributors, and sellers responsible for injuries caused by defective products. For a successful product liability lawsuit, you would need to prove that the product was defective in a way that made it unreasonably dangerous, that you in turn used the product in a reasonable manner, and that the defect in the product injured you. You may be entitled to compensation for several kinds of harm: medical bills, lost wages, damage to your property, and pain and suffering, to name a few.

In some states, your lawyer may be able to use recall as evidence in your product liability case, but the recall alone is never a cause of action for a defective product claim. Similarly, though the manufacturer can point to a recall notice in their defense, merely having issued the recall isn’t enough for a manufacturer to escape liability.

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