Auto recalls are not uncommon in the United States. Reasons for auto recalls can range from minor inconveniences to deadly defects in either an entire auto line or a series of vehicles manufactured under certain conditions. In some cases, manufacturers will issue a voluntary recall of a vehicle before any injuries or claims result from the safety issues. However, some recalls do not take place until after serious injury or death has occurred. Those who were harmed by a recalled vehicle should seek the counsel of experienced auto recall attorneys.
Auto Recall Reasons
Common defects that may lead to an auto recall may include:
- Issues with airbag deployment
- Possible loss of control from broken or malfunctioning steering parts
- Sudden freezing of brake mechanisms or accelerator pads
- Fuel leaks and wiring flaws that risk causing a fire
- Defective or faulty tires that may crack or break
- Failure to meet emissions standards set forth by the EPA
- Defects involving the vehicle’s onboard electronic systems
Auto Product Liability Lawsuit
When an individual is injured by a recalled vehicle, he or she may be eligible to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, or seller. There are three main claims that an injured individual can make when filing an automobile product liability lawsuit: defective design, defective manufacturing, or failure to warn about risks. Victims are advised to seek an experienced auto recall attorney to help with the legal process.
Defective design implies that the vehicle was inherently dangerous since its conception, meaning that all vehicles in the same line are also defective in the same manner. Success in filing this type of lawsuit will typically result in the manufacturer discontinuing production of the vehicle or making changes to correct the risks associated with the original design. An example may include a top-heavy SUV that is unusually susceptible to rollover during sharp turns.
Defective manufacturing may occur on a case-by-case basis. This claim does not imply that the entire vehicle line is dangerous. Rather a manufacturing error or fault caused that specific vehicle to become dangerous. This can occur in cases of low-quality materials or negligence during the manufacturing process. An example may include a defective seatbelt that failed to lock on impact, resulting in injury to a driver or passenger.
Failure to Warn
Failure to warn may also be referred to as deceptive marketing. In a failure to warn claim, the individual filing the lawsuit alleges that the defendant, or party being sued, was aware of potential risks and dangers but failed to provide adequate warning to consumers. An example may include an over-sensitive ignition key that can cut off the ignition switch if jammed, causing loss of engine power and disabled safety features.
Recall Class Action Lawsuit
Due to the likelihood that several vehicles are affected, an auto recall may result in a class action lawsuit. A class action lawsuit occurs when a group of individuals files claims against the same party with the same claims. In the case of an auto recall, the party being sued is often the vehicle manufacturer. Class action lawsuits exist because the number of claimants is often so large that it would be impractical to hear each case accordingly. In many cases, the court will hear a smaller proportion of cases and then apply the verdict and possible reward to the other members of the class action.
Hiring an Auto Recall Attorney
Auto recall attorneys are recommended for any individual or loved one who experiences injury or death due a defective or recalled vehicle. Auto recall attorneys can help to determine whether or not the victim’s claim is valid. They can help with the legal processes required to join a class action lawsuit, or advise if it is in the victim’s best interest to stay out of the class action and instead file his or her own personal lawsuit, as a victim cannot participate in both types of lawsuit.
Jones, Annie Butterworth. “Court releases product liability opinion.” Florida Bar News 15 June 2012: 16. Academic OneFile. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.
Plambeck, Joseph. “The case for hiring a lawyer.” New York Times 2 Oct. 2011: 1(L). Academic OneFile. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.
“Products Liability.” Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, 19 Aug 2010. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/products_liability>.