Vehicle recalls are issued by manufacturers if a defect is found, whether it involves the engine or brake parts, airbags, or something as simple as floor mats or a keyless fob. Far too often, such defects result in accidents and injuries. A recall lawsuit is often a complex matter. To complicate things further, there are state common laws and statutory laws pertaining to defective manufacturing, breach of warranty, etc. Vehicle recall laws by state can affect your lawsuit and legal funding due to the following:
- Statute of Limitations: In every state, there’s a time limit for bringing a lawsuit for a defective product. A statute can be tolled, or stopped from running if a recall notice is issued. A common defense manufacturer’s use is that the owner knew of or should have known about the recall. Per federal law, manufacturers must make recall information available online, searchable by VIN free of charge.
- Contributory Negligence: If contributory negligence is a factor, then if you receive a recall notice and don’t have the vehicle repaired, the manufacturer may argue you played a role in the accident and can’t sue. It may be difficult to process your claim and even obtain legal funding if your lawyer doesn’t have a basis for a lawsuit.
- Post-Sale Duty to Warn: Not recognized by all states, this is based on the principle a manufacturer must warn consumers about product dangers after the sale. Separate from recall rights, a duty to warn, if found to be improperly executed, can be an available cause of action and help you receive fair compensation for losses.
- Successor Liability: Usually, if a company or its assets are sold to a successor company, the successor inherits recalls and other liabilities. But companies try other methods to escape liability. In 2009, General Motors tried to avoid legal penalties and payments by filing for bankruptcy, but a faulty ignition switch caused many deaths and led to millions of recalls. The courts ruled the company retained legal liability after bankruptcy.
CAN I SUE A CAR MANUFACTURER FOR A RECALL?
You can sue the manufacturer if injured in an accident involving a recalled vehicle. The path you take depends on the circumstances. In fact, a recall can strengthen the evidence that the vehicle or a part was defective. The manufacturer’s handling of the matter plays a role as well. In general, when a vehicle is recalled, manufacturers are required by law to:
- Notify registered owners and car buyers by first class mail, using state vehicle registration information to find them.
- Provide a free remedy to the problem identified in the recall, including new parts, a replacement vehicle, or monetary damages.
But you don’t need to show the manufacturer was negligent or careless to prove liability for your injuries or losses. Recall claims differ from standard personal injury claims in this regard. What you need to show is the vehicle had an unreasonably dangerous defect that caused your injury, was being properly used at the time and was not substantially altered from its original condition.
Regardless of the company’s intentions, you can still recover damages if you were put in danger by the vehicle’s design, a manufacturing defect, or failure to provide adequate warning. An example is a warning label not put in the appropriate place.
AVAILABLE LEGAL REMEDIES
Vehicle recall laws by state provide for a variety of remedies depending on your situation. You may be able to pursue economic damages for the loss of the car’s resale value (or for the loss of a used car). The costs associated with an injury can be recovered. For recalls affecting many consumers, a class action lawsuit may be possible. However, legal action can be avoided if the manufacturer reimburses you with compensation for repairs or provides a replacement vehicle.
APPLY FOR LEGAL FUNDING TO PURSUE YOUR CASE
With an experienced personal injury attorney, you could exercise your legal rights if a recalled vehicle contributed to your injuries. We know these cases can take time. But regardless of the complexities, settlement funding can provide the cash you need, now. What we offer is non-recourse lawsuit funding, which you receive within 24 hours of application and approval. It can cover a range of expenses and is paid back only if you win—out of the proceeds of your settlement.