Protecting Yourself From Auto Recalls
In many of our blog posts, we discuss various recalls affecting the auto industry. These recalls have included all types of defective products, potential problems, and various concerns related to automobiles, tires, airbags, seatbelts, and more. While each and every recall is unique in scope, nearly all involve potential issues that can lead to consumers suffering serious injuries or death. After all, that’s why auto manufacturers and federal regulators choose to issue them in the first place.
Because there are risks associated with auto recalls, and because the U.S. has seen unprecedented numbers of defective and recalled auto products in recent years, it becomes important for all consumers who own vehicles, purchase new equipment and parts for their automobiles, or are considering buying a new or used cars, truck, RV, or other motor vehicle to do their due diligence in ensuring the their safety and the safety of their loved ones.
Below, our team at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Littky-Rubin & Whitman has put together some important information about protecting yourself from auto recalls.
- Vehicle Owners – Vehicle owners may believe that by buying a car deemed safe, they no longer have to worry about potential dangers. Unfortunately, that is not always true. Many defects and potential problems that can lead to accidents, injury, or death are discovered after vehicles have been released to the public, and often only after victims have already suffered harm. Be aware that auto manufacturers are required to send notices of safety issues and recalls to all owners, and be careful not to dismiss any letters you receive from a manufacturer as advertisements or junk mail. These notices provide critical information about potential dangers, as well as information about fixing those issues (i.e. when and where you should bring your vehicle for free repairs and who you should contact). If you suspect your vehicle has been recalled, have not received a notification about recalls you have heard about, or simply want to check to see if there are any issues associated with the vehicle you own, you can visit the manufacturer’s website or use the VIN search tool on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website or at www. safercar.gov.
- Purchasing a Vehicle – Consumers should always perform their due diligence when researching any vehicle they consider buying. This includes researching any recalls using a manufacturer’s website of the NHTSA recalls web page mentioned above. This goes for both new and used vehicles purchased from dealers and owners, as such parties may not always alert potential buyers to safety issues. If you discover a recall has not been fixed, consider a different vehicle or use the point as leverage to negotiate a more favorable price. Just be sure to take the vehicle in for service and address any outstanding recall if you do end up buying. In many states it is perfectly legal for sellers of used vehicles to sell them even though they have an unrepaired recall condition. So, do your own research.
- Renting Vehicles – Unfortunately, regulators have only just required car rental companies to service vehicles with safety recalls before renting them out, which means it still is not a common practice for many of them. Even so, there’s no guarantee a company will abide by the law. As such, you should take steps on your own to protect your safety and the safety of your passengers by determining whether the rental company you use includes policy terms detailing recalls, or by checking for recalls using online resources.
As a law firm with extensive experience handling product liability cases involving auto recalls and defective auto parts – including defective tires, airbags, seatbelts, vehicle fires, and more – we understand the importance of taking safety into your own hands. Unfortunately, we also know that even the most vigilant and safety conscientious consumer can suffer serious injury and damages due to products that contained inherent defects, which is why we are readily available to discuss their potential cases, legal rights, and how we can help during free case evaluations. To speak with a member of our team about an auto accident you believe may have been caused by a defective product, call today.