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The Relationship Between Liability Claims and Vehicle Recalls

The process for a vehicle recall can be lengthy and incredibly complex. However, it typically begins when the agency receives consumer complaints or other information that may indicate a safety defect that could ultimately endanger the public if not addressed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will then analyze petitions that are requesting a safety defect investigation, investigate the alleged safety defect, and then manage the recall and determine the recalls effectiveness.

Even after the NHTSA puts a recall in place, the manufacturer still has the right to appeal the decision that was made.

Voluntary Recalls

Sometimes the manufacturer, even without the guidance or suggestion from the NHTSA, will initiate a recall when they discover a potential defect through their own safety inspections.

Once the manufacturer has determined the need for a recall, they must then notify the NHTSA of their decision along with car dealers, distributors, and vehicle owners. They can then choose to repair the defect at no cost, replace the defective equipment at no cost, or issue the owner a refund.

Even when the manufacturer voluntarily initiates the recall, they are still not released from any liability due to the defect. Therefore, if an owner was injured because of the defect, they can seek damages from the manufacturer.

Liability Following a Recall

When a person is injured by a defective product, they can sue the manufacturer and distributor of the product. However, a recall doesn’t automatically make the manufacturer liable in a liability claim. The plaintiff will still have to provide enough evidence proving that their injuries resulted from the defect.

Even though the manufacturer is required to fulfill one of the three options as stated above following the recall, this doesn’t compensate for any injuries you may have already sustained due to the defect. If the defective part in the vehicle contributed to your accident, then you can definitely seek damages from the manufacturer by filing a product liability lawsuit.

In doing so, you are alleging that the manufacturer of the recalled vehicle didn’t provide a vehicle that was safe to use, they neglected to create a safe vehicle by defectively designing the vehicle, the defect was the cause of the accident, and that accident resulted in injuries, missed work, medical bills, and more.

Most of the time, defective vehicles are taken care of long before any serious problems can occur. But if you are one of the few that do become injured, then you should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney to help you get through the legal processes involved following a vehicle recall.

Stay Informed

The best thing you can do as a consumer to avoid any future harm due to a recall is to stay informed. Stay up to date on all of the latest recall information through This website will allow you to find any and all recall information about your particular vehicle. You can also view consumer complaints and safety concerns that have been filed as well.

In addition to the vehicle recalls, you will also want to stay on top of tire and child car seats that are also often named in recalls.

But again, if you or someone you know has been injured due to a vehicle defect, then contact an experienced attorney today to learn more about the options you have as the injured consumer.