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More Questions And Answers About Car Safety Recalls

According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), a recall is “issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, such as an airbag, car seat or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or, in rare cases, repurchasing the vehicle.”

The definition—as comprehensive as it is—only begins to cover what you need to know about car recalls. Read on as we help answer some common questions regarding the implications of automotive recalls, your responsibilities, and your rights.

What should I do after a car recall?

You must take immediate action once an automotive recall has been issued. Learn as much as possible about it by reading the recall letter or researching on the issue. The details you have to focus on include the warning signs, the risks, the safety issue at hand, and perhaps the parts to be repaired. The letter should also come with the instruction to set up an appointment with the nearest car dealer.

But before you meet with them, it would be good for you to look back and try to remember if the defects that triggered the recall have affected you in the past. If you think they have, it is best to consult a lawyer to know your rights and the next steps you should take.

Should I spend money because of a car recall?

If the necessary fixes are within the scope of the defect, you should not be required to pay for them. If your car is more than 10 years old, the manufacturer is not usually mandated to repair your car for free, but if you are fortunate, they may disregard the fees. If you are unsure about what to pay out of pocket or the local laws regarding recalls, it is always best to consult your lawyer about it.

How long will it take for me to get my car back?

There is no definite answer, but it may depend on how soon you can bring it back to an authorized dealer or how extensive the recall is. From the time you bought the car to the time of the recall, if you have since moved addresses (for example, to or from Port Charlotte, Sarasota, or Southwest Florida), you may have to coordinate with the manufacturer for your car to be fixed.

Should I stop using my car after a recall is issued?

Yes, as much as possible. If the recall has to do with how dangerous it is to drive the vehicle, leave it parked until it can be fixed. To confirm the situation, inquire directly to your local dealer or manufacturer. It does not matter how comfortable you are driving or how much you “know” your car; in these cases, you can never be too careful.

What if I get into an accident related to a recall?

The point of car recalls is to ensure that no accidents occur as a result of defective vehicle parts. But, realistically, this is not always the case. If a defect is detected too late or if the automotive recall is not issued in a timely manner, it may result in unwanted or unforeseen accidents. In many instances, this may cause injuries; in others, this may cause fatalities.

If this happens to you or your loved one, it is best to allow legal experts to investigate the situation. It’s important to determine whether an injury or a death is caused by a car defect. Know your rights. Consult personal injury lawyers with strong backgrounds in auto accidents and extensive experience in dealing with automobile manufacturers or insurance companies.