If your car is subject to a recall, you probably know that it is best to repair your car as soon as possible. Following the massive Takata airbag recall, automakers have stepped up their efforts to locate defective cars and convince owners to bring their vehicles into dealers sooner rather than later. But even with the diligent efforts by safety experts and automakers, some owners may not get the message or simply fail to heed the warning. What if your car contains a recalled part and you are involved in an accident caused by that defect? Do you still have a claim against the automaker?
The automaker may certainly try to claim that the damage is your responsibility. After all, you failed to repair the faulty part. As a car owner, there are several factors that may determine whether you have a claim regardless of your failure to address the defect. Any or all of these circumstances may have an impact on whether the automaker is liable for injury and damages.
The first issue is whether the car owner received a recall notice. If the manufacturer was unable to locate the owner or failed to mail a notice or advertise the recall, then the owner was not aware that his car contained a defect. In this case, the manufacturer would be liable for damages. The owner should check the date of the notice. There should be an adequate amount of time between receiving the recall notice and repairing the defect. If you received the notice sixth months before an accident, that would likely be considered sufficient time to have addressed the problem.
If the owner received a notice, he should ensure that the instructions were clear and reasonable. If the notice does not provide easy-to-understand instructions for repairing the defect and a reasonable means to do so, then the owner may have a legitimate reason for noncompliance. For example, if the substitute part is unavailable or inaccessible, then the dealer may be liable for failing to address the issue that led to a collision. In many cases, the NHTSA has asked automakers to provide loaner cars to customers for serious safety recalls when a repair is not possible at the time.
Finally, there are cases where the owner received a notice, repaired the defect, and was still involved in an accident while driving the recalled car. In this case, the owner may have a claim against the carmaker if it can establish that the defective part was the cause of the accident and that incident led to damages. It is possible that the repair was inadequate or faulty in some way.
If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of negligence or a defective automobile, contact the attorneys Alexander Law Group, LLP. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and get you the maximum compensation that is possible. Call 888.777.1776 or contact us online.