How Auto Recalls, Vehicle Defects, and Product Liability Affect Car Owners

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2014 was a watershed year for vehicle defects. For the first time in US history, auto recalls crossed the 60 million mark in a single year. For a better perspective, consider this, the total number of 60 million in 2014 is close to double the previous record of 30 million vehicles recalled in 2004.

Most of the cars recalled in 2014 were General Motors vehicles with temperamental ignition switches and vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags. As a car owner in Tacoma, one of your responsibilities is to monitor recall alerts issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Can I file a product liability claim if my car was included in a recall?

An essential feature of a product liability claim is proof of injury as a result of the defect. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused because of a defect in the car, you could file a successful product liability claim.

Merely owning a car involved in a recall doesn't automatically qualify you for a personal injury claim. However, you may have grounds for a claim under other branches of litigation, like the lemon law or automotive fraud.

Does my car have to be included in a recall to file a product liability claim?

The answer to this question is no. Often, motorists are injured in accidents caused by unknown defects or unreported defects. The NHTSA will take steps to initiate a recall only after it completes an investigation into complaints about a reported defect.

In some cases, the car may not have been included in the recall, but if the injuries are linked to a defect, a plaintiff may file a product liability claim against the manufacturer and other parties.

Product liability is a complex field of litigation. If you have recently suffered injuries in an accident you believe was caused by a defective part - whether because of an auto recall or not -- then you have a right to file a claim. 

Speak to a product liability lawyer in Tacoma about filing a claim for compensation. Call 425-399-7000 to speak with attorney Max Meyers, or fill out the online contact form, and schedule a free consultation.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.