A vehicle recall (auto recall, car recall) is when a manufacturer of vehicles or vehicle parts determines a car model or car part has a safety-related defect or doesn’t currently comply with federal safety standards. Open vehicle recalls are dangerous to not only the vehicle owners, but to the general public as defective vehicles cause accidents, injuries, and deaths.
The largest vehicle recalls occur when it affects multiple manufacturers, and in turn, potentially millions of individual vehicles. Some major examples include:
Takata airbags – CURRENT – The airbag parts occasionally explode on deployment, sending shrapnel into the vehicle. Approximately 37 million vehicles affected with 23 deaths and over 300 injuries worldwide across multiple manufacturers.
Firestone tires – 2000 – The tread randomly peeled off the tires during driving, often causing the tire to fail, and the vehicle to roll. 6.5 million SUVs affected with 46 deaths and hundreds of accidents caused across multiple manufacturers.
Takata seatbelts – 1995 – The button on the latch of the belt was prone to crack and jam the locking mechanism, trapping the driver and passengers in their seats. 8 million vehicles affected across multiple manufacturers.
With the most serious recalls causing death and injury, it’s essential that vehicles with safety defects are removed from the public as soon as possible. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t usually catch the recall until complaints have already been made. For example, the ongoing Takata airbag recall that has made international headlines didn’t happen until there had already been deaths and injuries caused by the exploding airbags.
An alarming 2018 report by Carfax suggests that more than 57 million vehicles with open recalls are in use across the country. There are owners who ignore recall notices, recall notices that get lost due to changing driver contact information, and used car dealerships who don’t alert potential buyers to open recalls. Many of those vehicles with open recalls have defects that could cause severe injuries and death to their users.
Thankfully, there is an easy way for all vehicle owners to check for open recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has an online database of all current vehicle recalls. Vehicle owners can go to www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and enter their vehicle’s 17 character VIN. A cars VIN can be located on the registration, title or the driver’s side where the dashboard meets the windshield. The NHTSA database brings up the vehicle and shows any open recalls. If an open recall is identified the owner should contact the manufacturer.
Those injured by vehicles with safety defects deserve fair and full compensation from the manufacturer. It gets complicated though if the defect is exposed because of an accident with another vehicle. The manufacturer may argue the vehicle caused the injury because of the accident, instead of the safety defect. An experienced personal injury attorney, specializing in auto recall issues can hold the manufacturers responsible, and help the victim reach a fair compensation.
If you or a loved one was injured due to a vehicle defect, get in touch with Craig Swapp & Associates. Our specialists and experienced attorneys are ready to help. Call us at 1-800-404-9000 or tell us your story by filling out the online form at the bottom of this page.