Who May Be Liable for a Crash With a Recalled Vehicle?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on April 29, 2022 in Car Accidents
Updated on April 24, 2024

recalled vehicle crashFew people intend to cause a crash. Most of the time, traffic accidents end up being the result of one or more driver errors. Like most things in life, however, there are exceptions. For instance, what if your crash was caused by a defect in a recalled vehicle? Who may be liable for your medical costs and other damages in that situation?

At PKSD, we help injured victims every day, as we have done for decades. We are deeply committed to helping our clients and ensuring they recover maximum compensation for their damages.

If your car crash turns out to be the result of a defect in a recalled vehicle, one or more parties may be liable. Call our trusted law firm today to discuss your situation. You can set up your initial case review with one of our qualified Milwaukee-based car crash attorneys. There is no cost or obligation for this meeting. If we represent you, there is also nothing to pay up front.

FREE Case Review. Call  414-333-3333 24/7.

What Happens When There is a Vehicle Recall?

If a manufacturer learns of a widespread defect in one of its vehicles, it triggers the need for a closer look. Following an investigation, the manufacturer may initiate a vehicle recall. Sometimes, however, a recall could come from a government agency, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Before any party issues a recall, however, there are a few things that have to happen. The manufacturer or government agency need to first properly identify the defect, the risk and how to resolve it.

Prior to a recall, the NHTSA and/or manufacturer will do the following:

  • Fully assess and confirm the vehicle model or vehicle part that is defective
  • Identify how the defective part poses a risk to consumers and fails to meet safety standards
  • Issue a notice about the recall to both the public and individual vehicle owners
  • Offer to repair the vehicle at no cost to the vehicle owner (repairs are done by the manufacturer)

You can check for recalls issued for your vehicle at anytime on the NHTSA site, including any you may have missed.

What if a Defective Vehicle Caused a Crash But There Was no Recall?

Manufacturers owe consumers a duty to ensure the vehicles they place on the market are safe to use. This duty includes making sure the vehicle is free from defects or design flaws that could make driving dangerous.

When you buy a vehicle, you have the right to expect that it is:

  • Safe to operate and without any known defects or design flaws
  • Complies with all state and federal safety standards
  • Conforms to the manufacturer’s warranty

If a vehicle defect causes or contributes to your crash, the manufacturer may be liable, even if there was no recall at the time.

What if a Recall Was Not Issued Until After You Had a Crash?

Recalls are often not issued until a wave of accidents brings a defect to someone’s attention. If this happens to you, the options available to you may be partly determined by any legal actions you have already taken.

Regardless of where you are with a claim, it is a good idea to discuss your situation with an attorney. If eligible, you may be able to pursue compensation for injuries and other damages from the manufacturer.

What if the Vehicle Owner Knew About the Recall Prior to the Crash?

It depends on the situation. In general, if a vehicle owner knew of the vehicle recall prior to the crash, but did nothing about it, he or she could have some liability. Keeping a vehicle running safely involves both proper vehicle maintenance and repairs. This duty includes getting known defects, such as those discovered in a recall, fixed without delay.

That said, there are other factors to consider in this situation, such as:

  • When did the vehicle owner first learn about the recall?
  • What was the defect and what was the risk of it causing a crash before it was repaired?
  • Is there proof that the vehicle recall was issued by the manufacturer?
  • If so, was the recall clear and easy to understand – including the risks if not repaired?
  • Did the owner have reasonable time prior to the crash to respond to the recall notice?

What is the Vehicle Owner’s Responsibility After Getting a Recall?

Vehicle owners have a duty of care to prevent harm to others, as well as themselves. This legal obligation includes vehicle maintenance.

As such, once registered owners get any notice about their vehicle from the manufacturer, they need to read it. If the notice is about a vehicle recall, they will need to take action right away.

Review the notice for specific details included, such as:

  • What the vehicle recall is about – specifically, the defect or design flaw
  • How and where owners can have the defect fixed at no cost to the consumer
  • Whether it is dangerous to continue driving your vehicle before having the defect repaired

Vehicle owners should waste no time contacting the dealership to schedule an appointment for the repair. Failing to respond to the notice or have your vehicle promptly repaired could make you liable if your vehicle’s defect leads to a crash.

Call Our Trusted Law Firm for Legal Help Today

PKSD has the staff and resources to fully manage your case so you can focus on your recovery. We are ready to help after any crash that has caused you harm, including a crash caused by a recalled vehicle. Our firm has a successful history of proven results; we have recovered millions for our clients.

The intake staff at our firm are ready to take your call anytime, day or night. Call today to schedule your zero-cost, risk-free consultation. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay.

More than lip service. PKSD is here to help. 414-333-3333

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