Who Is Liable When a Recalled Car or Truck Causes a Crash?

Who Is Liable When a Recalled Car or Truck Causes a Crash?

By the end of 2018, more than 340 safety recall campaigns were in effect for cars and light trucks. This means that more than one out of five cars on U.S. roads in 2018 was subject to an open recall. Not all of those recalls were for safety defects that might cause immediate dangers to drivers and passengers. Nonetheless, drivers and passengers in vehicles that are subject to recalls are potentially at risk for injuries caused by accidents resulting from defective parts or systems in those vehicles  

The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Ellis Injury Law represent Southern California drivers and passengers that have suffered injuries in car accidents. Many of those accidents are caused by another driver’s negligence, but others are the result of product and design flaws that originate with the manufacturer of the vehicle. We have analyzed and represented accident victims in hundreds of California car crashes and our car accident lawyers have the expertise to determine if a manufacturer’s product liability negligence caused the accident. 

Who is responsible when vehicle defects cause a crash? 

A vehicle defect might be one of several causes of a collision. The facts surrounding the accident might point to several parties as having potential liability for any resulting property losses and injuries, including: 

  • the manufacturer of the defective car or system where a defect contributed to the accident 
  • distributors, retailers, or dealers that failed to warn vehicle purchasers about known defects and recalls 
  • drivers that continued to operate the vehicle after receiving notice of a defect without taking the car to a shop for repairs. 

In every case, your lawyer will investigate your accident and identify all sources of liability for your damages. This may require your lawyer to consult with technical and engineering experts who will perform accident reconstructions and tests. This process might require a fair amount of time to complete. Accordingly, you should not hesitate to retain a car accident attorney as soon as is possible after your accident.  

Will safety recalls automatically entitle me to recover compensation or damages? 

Recalls are often crucial evidence of a manufacturer’s admission that a car or its systems do not meet minimum safety standards. The timing of the recall notice with respect to the date of the accident, for example, will have an impact on the strength or weakness of a claim. Nonetheless, the recall will not be an automatic precursor to damages recovery. 

If a recall notice is issued after a crash, the injured accident victim’s lawyer will likely argue to connect the safety recall was at least a partial cause of the crash. A recall issued before an accident, however, shifts some of the liability to the car’s owner to have the vehicle repaired. Car owners that ignore recall notices might be partially at fault for injures from a resulting accident. As in all personal injury and car accident cases, the entire universe of facts about the accident will determine an injured party’s right and opportunity to recover compensation for losses and injuries. 

How can a car owner protect himself or herself if a vehicle is subject to a safety recall? 

Car owners should never ignore recall notices. If a manufacturer issues a safety recall for your vehicle, contact a dealer to schedule repairs as soon as you possibly can. If you purchase a pre-owned vehicle, ask a dealer or inspector to check maintenance records to verify that all recall repairs, if any, have been made. Recall repairs are always performed at no cost to the car owner. 

Ask repair shops to keep all parts or systems that are replaced when you take your damaged car for repairs. Those parts or systems will be important evidence in any lawsuits you file that include liability claims related to safety recalls. If the parts or systems have already been discarded, keep all repair records, including estimates and invoices, that show the nature and extent of repairs.  

Call the Los Angeles lawyers at Ellis Injury Law for more information on safety recalls and liability 

Assigning liability when a recalled car or truck causes an accident is a complex and technical process. An injured accident victim will be best able to recover damages from the parties that bear responsibility for the accident when the victim retains a car accident lawyer that has the knowledge and experience to handle that complexity and to comprehend relevant technical matters. 

The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Ellis Injury Law have developed that knowledge and experience over more than twenty years of representing injured accident victims in Southern California. Please see our website or call us for answers to your liability questions about recalled cars or trucks, and for assistance in recovering a damages award after your car accident.