Who Is Responsible for a Car Accident Caused by a Recalled Vehicle?

Alexandria Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Accident Victims Injured by Defective Vehicles

While the majority of car accidents occur because of driver error or poor driving conditions, it is possible that poor design or manufacturing defects can cause a crash. Because of these safety issues, car manufacturers and government entities may issue a recall, alerting the consumer that their product may be defective and dangerous.

Your car accident may have been caused by a recalled part or vehicle. If this happens, who is financially liable for the damages and injuries? As with any car accident case, it depends on the circumstances.

The government issues vehicle recalls, usually the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), or by the vehicle manufacturer themselves when they discover a part of the vehicle is unsafe to use. These defects are often discovered after a number of incidents involving the questionable part or vehicle occur. The recall process includes:

  • The NHTSA or car manufacturer identifies a defective vehicle or part on the vehicle.
  • The part fails to meet the safety standards and is deemed unsafe to operate through an investigation.
  • The manufacturer or the government notified the public and the consumers of the vehicle about the recalled part. A description of the affected part or product is also included.
  • An explanation of how the manufacturer will repair or remedy the issue by fixing the part to bring it to safety standards or returning the vehicle.
  • Instructions on what the vehicle owner needs to do next by contacting them or a dealership.

What if a Recall Affects My Accident Claim?

If the vehicle you were in when your accident is recalled, it does not necessarily mean the manufacturer is to blame. While it may be possible that it is the sole cause, most of the time there are a number of factors causing the crash and a few parties that may be liable. It is best to seek the guidance of a car accident lawyer to go over your case. A lawyer, with the help of expert witnesses they can provide, can help you navigate the legal process of such a complicated issue.

Consider these accident scenarios for a recalled vehicle:

  • If the car is recalled before the accident: When a recall is issued, the responsibility shifts to the owners of the affected vehicles. This may mean that they may share responsibility in an accident if they did not have the vehicle repaired in a timely manner or did not follow the instructions of the recall letter.
  • If the vehicle is recalled after the accident: If your accident happens and the recall is issued, your lawyer will have to guide you through the process and decide what to do next. You may have to contact the vehicle manufacturer, the dealership, or both.

What Should I Do if a Receive a Notice About a Recall?

If you receive a recall for your vehicle, you should do the following:

  • Read the entire recall notice. If it warns you not to use your car or tow it to the nearest dealer for repair, follow these instructions specifically.
  • Schedule your repairs with an authorized dealer and document your appointment time.
  • The dealer should not charge you for the recall-related repairs.
  • Do not dispose of any parts if you are involved in an accident.
  • You can go to the NHTSA website with your VIN and see if there are any recalls for your vehicle.

Washington D.C. Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Accident Victims Injured by Defective Vehicles

An accident involving a recalled part or car can be complicated. Our Washington D.C. car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King are here for you. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Falls Church, Virginia, we serve clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.