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Making an Injury Claim After an Auto Recall

By David Boehrer | Posted on January 25, 2021

Recalled vehicles usually indicate some type of defect that poses possible accidents, but injury claims depend on the individual circumstances of the accident.

Recalled Vehicle Injury Claims

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates vehicle safety standards and recalls. NHTSA has the authority to recall vehicles that do not meet Federal Safety Standards or those that pose accident risks. Over the years, millions of vehicles have been recalled due to steering and braking problems, faulty airbags, defective tires, and unsafe child safety seats.

Vehicle Rights

When NHTSA issues a vehicle recall, the vehicle’s owner can choose to repair, replace, or refund the vehicle. Car manufacturers must provide timely repairs for defective parts. If a total recall is issued, the manufacturer must either replace the vehicle or refund the value of the vehicle minus depreciation, in addition to any rights available for design and manufacturing defects and breach of warranty.

When injuries are caused by vehicle defects, the vehicle owner has the right to file a lawsuit. However, the value of the injury claim depends on a direct link between the injury and the accident caused by specific factors.

Post-Sale Duty to Warn

Some states have a post-sale duty to warn consumers about product dangers that may arise following a sale. This legal duty is separate from any duties related to vehicle design defects, inadequate vehicle instructions, manufacturing defects, and manufacturer recall rights. Nevada does not recognize a post-sale duty to warn as a legal cause of action.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence plays a significant role in vehicle recalls. If a vehicle owner receives a recall notice but fails to perform necessary repairs, he or she may not have credible legal actions against the manufacturer. If an accident results in injuries, the manufacturer may argue that the victim was responsible because necessary repairs were ignored.

Successor Liability

In some cases, vehicle manufacturers may take steps to avoid large-scale recall liabilities. One such step is filing for bankruptcy to avoid huge financial losses. Successor liability may occur if the company or company’s assets are sold. Does the successor company inherit legal liabilities for recalls? The answer is often yes.

Federal laws require vehicle manufacturers to make recall information available online. Recall information must be searchable by VIN and free of charge to consumers. When recalled vehicles result in accidents and injuries, Nevada accident attorneys can ensure that injury claims are filed within the required state statute of limitations.

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