Auto Recalls at Staggering Heights
Like most Americans, my family is a multi-car household. That is why I find what is happening in the auto industry right now completely unacceptable. According to a story by the CNN Money, “1 out of every 10 passenger cars and trucks in the US have been recalled this year.” For two and three car families this is scary.
So, I thought the time is ‘right’ to discuss how to protect your family from defective cars and how the recall process works.
What Is a Recall?
Like most people, you probably heard the term a lot on the news of late. However, you probably did not pay much attention to it, unless you discovered that your car was affected. That is why it helps to understand what a recall actually is.
A recall is a warning from a car manufacturer. It happens when specific equipment, or a part of your car does not meet federal guidelines for quality and safety. Your car needs to be fixed!
What Happened to the Auto Industry?
What happened to GM — the car company at the center of this debacle — responsible for 56.9% of the recalls. This includes a recent recall of 3.16 million cars with ignition switches that could possibly shut down the car and air bags before a crash.
But it’s not just GM. Other manufacturers, Ford, Honda, even Toyota have experienced quality issues and recalls.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your cars are safe for you and your family.
First, go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. On the NHTSA site, there is a search tool that allows you to checks every car by model, make and year alerting you to any potential issues. You’ll want to check the site periodically to make sure that nothing has been discovered about your car — whether it hit the news or not.
Second, check to see if your car is on the Recalls, Investigations, and Complaints list. If it is on the list, then contact your nearest dealer or the car company directly to find out what the next steps are. Car manufacturers will have a procedure set in place.
Third, make sure the car company will pay. The rule of thumb is that if the car is less than 10 years from the date of first purchase they are responsible for repairing, replacing your car, or refunding the value of your car (minus depreciation). If your car is older than 10 years, then you will be responsible for repairs. The one major exception to this rule is if you had to pay out of pocket in the past for a repair related to the flaw. If the repair was less than 10 years ago, then the manufacturer might be responsible.
What to Do If You Are in a Accident in a Recalled Car?
The problem with recalled cars is that we generally do not hear about them until accidents start happening. Here are a few steps you can take to hold car makers responsible for any negligent acts.
First, confirm your car is on the Recalls, Investigations, and Complaints list. If it is not, you should report the matter to the NHTSA so they can track data on your type of car.
Second, collect the proper documentation of the accident. If your car is on the list, then you will need to keep a record of all the documents from the accident, including any tickets, reports from mechanics, insurance claim reports, and other pertinent information.
Third, confirm any defects responsible for the accident. If your car is not on the list, but the crash was due to a defect you can file a complaint to the Safer Car program. Let them know specifically what happened to your car. Again, the more documentation and information you can provide, the better for your case.
Fourth, remember that you’re not alone. As a partner at Friends, Levinson, & Turner, I have dedicated my professional life to fighting for the rights of people injured as the result of someone else’s negligence.
The attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner Law make the legal process as stress-free as possible. We focus on recovering compensation for you – while you concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery.
If you or a loved one is injured or a victim of an unsafe product or the negligence of others, please call my office at 312-346-8465 or contact us using the form below.