Car recalls hit an all-time record high in 2015, with more than 51 million vehicles being impacted in that year alone. If you have questions about a safety recall that may have caused a car accident, contact our Alabama product liability attorneys at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. today.
The trend does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is placing increased pressure on automakers to issue timely recalls. Even more alarming than the recent surge in safety-related recalls, is the number of defective vehicles that continue operating without ever being repaired. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 6 recalled vehicles on the road have an unresolved safety problem.
While some auto recalls involve only minor fixes, a significant number of them are for safety-related defects. According to the NHTSA, a safety recall is issued by a manufacturer any time a vehicle or its equipment creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards.
When a recall is deemed necessary, the manufacturer will generally issue an official notice via mail to the registered owner of the vehicle, which will indicate the nature of the defect and the steps that should be taken to repair the problem at the expense of the automaker.
The problems with the U.S. auto recall system have been widely-publicized and is an important factor in the recalled-but-not-repaired epidemic. Industry experts also point to the low response rates among consumers as a major part of the problem.
People tend to ignore recall notices because they misconstrue it as junk mail, underestimate the safety risk posed, or cannot afford to give up their vehicle for the time necessary to make the repair.
The recall response rate is also lower in older vehicles because it may have been sold several times, meaning that the current owner may never receive the information. Furthermore, there is no federal law requiring used car dealerships to inform customers of unrepaired safety recalls.
When motor vehicle owners ignore safety recalls or never receive the notice, it poses a threat to everyone on the roadway. To understand the threat posed by unaddressed safety recalls, consider the consequences of the Takata airbag and GM ignition switch defects.
So far, GM’s flawed ignition switch has been responsible for the deaths of 124 people and injured another 275. The faulty Takata airbag inflator, which is the largest auto recall in U.S. history, has claimed the lives of 11 people and resulted in more than 100 injuries.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a defective vehicle or auto part, the personal injury attorneys at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. can help. With more than 65 years of collective litigation experience, we understand what it takes to fight for the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. We have obtained more than $1 million in 40 separate victories and a $13 million jury verdict in a single automobile accident case (remitted to $9 million by the court).
To find out how we can put our extensive skills, knowledge, and resources to work for you, call our Alabama product liability lawyers today at (205) 933-1500 or contact us online to receive a free, no-risk consultation.