Recalled cars can be a danger to other motorists on the road. Cars today are quite complex with countless parts and systems meant to enhance safety and comfort. However, these improvements have also contributed to car accidents. Manufacturers chalk it down to design defects and often recall cars with such problems.
According to Statista, in 2019, around 39 million vehicles and about 14 million motor vehicle parts were taken off U.S. roads. After an accident with a recalled vehicle, those involved wonder who to sue. It could be the person driving the car or the vehicle manufacturer.
The circumstances of the accident determine the appropriate at-fault party. This article discusses who is liable for a crash caused by a recalled car. Contact our Dallas car accident lawyers at The Weinstein Firm if you suffer injuries in a crash.
Why Do Manufacturers Recall Cars?
A recall happens when the vehicle manufacturer or government agency realizes that it is unsafe to use. For example, Hyundai and Kai recalled about 500,000 SUVs due to a high fire risk. The companies noted that due to “foreign contaminants,” the anti-lock brake computer control module can short circuit and possibly start a fire in the engine compartment.
There are four critical steps in a car recall:
- The government or manufacturers identify a design defect
- An investigation establishes that the car does not meet the minimum safety standard
- The company publicly announces a recall and notifies vehicle owners
- The company fixes the flaw, replaces the part, or reimburses the car owners
In recent times, common reasons for vehicle recall are defective tires, airbags, and car seats. However, just because an automobile was recalled does not mean it will not be on the road. While the car remains mobile, it could cause an accident, leading, once again, to the question of who bears liability in such an instance.
Who Is Responsible for an Accident Caused by a Recalled Car?
If a defective vehicle part causes an accident, you may have multiple claims. You can sue the car driver or the manufacturer. Typically, a person driving a defective vehicle can sue the manufacturer for injuries and losses if an accident happens.
Similarly, you can file a claim against the company if a human error did not contribute to the crash. So, suppose a defective engine caused a collision. You can proceed against the manufacturer. However, if the driver knew of the defect but kept driving, your claim would be against them.
The above is the position of the law when dealing with recalled vehicles. Manufacturers are liable if they fail to recall a defective car, and drivers who ignore a safety recall will be responsible if a crash happens. While it sounds simple enough, there are always technicalities in cases like this.
These technicalities make it hard to know the proper party to sue. The vehicle manufacturer may deny liability and do everything possible to avoid paying damages. So, don’t go up against them alone. Instead, hire a legal team with experience in accident cases to help you identify the negligent party and prove their liability.
How Does a Vehicle Recall Affect Your Claim?
A vehicle recall is not an automatic ticket to receive compensation. Therefore, while it may serve as valuable evidence, you also need to prove other factors depending on who your claim is against.
If the accident happened before the recall, you have a claim against the manufacturer. This fact remains the same whether you were driving the recalled vehicle or it was the driver who caused the accident. Here, your lawyer will prove the car did not meet the minimum safety standards and demand the company compensate you.
However, if the company already issued a recall when the accident occurred, it shifts some of the responsibilities to the at-fault driver. So, if the driver did not immediately turn in their vehicle to get it repaired, they will be partly at fault for your injuries.
To identify the right person to file your claim against, your lawyer will investigate:
- When the owner received the recall notification
- Whether the recall notice sufficiently warned them of the car’s defects and risks
- Whether the driver tried to comply with the recall order
Get Help From Premium Dallas Car Accident Lawyers
Getting injured in an accident involving a recalled car means dealing with the at-fault driver and the vehicle’s manufacturer. You can’t do this alone and need the assistance of legal experts. Our legal team at The Weinstein Firm has all it takes to represent you and win. Contact us today for a free case review.