Most car accidents occur in Florida and across the U.S. due to errors on behalf of the driver. Yet some small number of accidents are caused by mechanical issues, which sometimes form part of a recall.
When you’re in an accident with a recalled vehicle, the cause may still be driver error – especially if they knew about the recall and didn’t take steps to address it. But sometimes the manufacturer can also be liable. In these cases, the vehicle owner often didn’t yet know there was a recall in place.
If you’re in an accident with a recalled or defective vehicle and were injured, you might be able to sue for damages from multiple parties. Here’s what you need to know about Florida vehicle recalls and how they can impact the steps you take after an accident.
What Is a Vehicle Recall?
Vehicle recalls are notices sent to vehicle owners when a safety issue has been identified in a vehicle. These recalls are initiated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the manufacturer of the vehicle. Recalls happen quite often as various defects are found in vehicles over time.
During a recall, vehicle owners are notified of the types of vehicles impacted by the recall. They are made aware of the part of the product that has the defect. Then, information is dispersed regarding the hazards and risks that are posed, as well as any warning signs that your vehicle may be affected.
Vehicle owners are instructed on how to get the issue addressed and repairs done – they are given explicit instructions on what to do next.
Manufacturers of vehicles are required to provide a refund, repair, or replace vehicles or their parts without charge in a reasonable amount of time.
How Do You Know If a Vehicle Has a Recall?
Most of the time, you are sent a letter from the manufacturer making you aware of the defect and how to address it. You can also check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website for more information. This agency will have all the information needed for drivers to know if there’s an open recall on their car. You can also call the local dealership in your area.
Are There Always Recalls?
It is the obligation of the manufacturer to ensure that vehicles are safe to use. When you buy a car, you have the right to expect that it is free from defects and safe to use. You also have the right to expect that federal and state safety standards are being followed.
If you are in an accident because of a defect, but there was no recall, then the manufacturer may be responsible for your injuries and any damages. You can often seek compensation for lost income and medical expenses caused by injuries in the accident.
What If the Vehicle Owner Knows?
Let’s say there is an existing recall, and you as the vehicle owner know it and don’t address it. Then you are in an accident. The driver of the vehicle, as well as the manufacturer, may be on the hook for damages. Owners of vehicles have a duty to maintain them to keep them safe on the roads.
If you are in an accident, consult with an attorney. They have the experience to understand that vehicle recalls should be checked for all cars involved.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.