Car recalls ensure that unsafe vehicles are removed from our roads to protect motorists from malfunctions caused by defective auto parts, which can lead to car accidents. According to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, they occur when a vehicle or auto component fails to comply with federal standards or when there is a defect related to safety.
A recall is issued when either an automaker discovers a defective auto part on its own and calls for a recall voluntarily or if consumers experience an issue and file a complaint with the manufacturer or government regulator. Manufacturers are required to alert registered owners and consumers by letter when their vehicle is affected by a recall.
The following are the proper steps to take if you receive a recall letter from an automaker:
- Repair your vehicle – Federal law mandates manufacturers to repair the defect without any cost to consumers. This often occurs when defects are minor and easily repaired.
- Replace or refund your vehicle – No matter how many times some vehicles get repaired, they never seem to work. These cars are considered “lemons”, which are vehicles that have a defect which significantly hinders a motorist’s ability to properly drive it. If your vehicle is a lemon, you are entitled to a replacement car or refund. If a dealership refuses to either replace or refund your car, get in touch with a lawyer to determine your legal options.
- File a product liability lawsuit – Unfortunately, sometimes addressing a recall can be too late. If you suffered an injury caused by a defective auto part or vehicle, you can file a product liability lawsuit against the automaker or manufacturer to recover compensation to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. You must prove that the vehicle was defective when you initially bought it, you were using the vehicle in the appropriate manner, and that you suffered damages caused by an auto defect. Unlike many other personal injury lawsuits, you are not required to show if the manufacturer was negligent or a mistake occurred during production of the vehicle.