Can a Vehicle Recall Affect Your Accident Claim?

It is not uncommon to hear about various vehicle recalls in the news, on the internet, and in daily conversations. This is because many vehicles are now made up of complex systems and parts that are necessary to ensure safety and comfortability.

However, if any of these systems or parts are defective, the manufacturer is required to issue a recall to prevent dangerous and deadly accidents from occurring.

What is a vehicle recall?

A vehicle recall is when the manufacturer or company that created or designed the vehicle is alerted or learns that the vehicle or its parts are not safe. As a result, they are required to inform the public and let them know that the vehicle is unsafe, should not be used, and needs to be replaced or fixed. Here is what usually happens when a vehicle is recalled:

  • The manufacturer learns that a part or the entire vehicle is unsafe. They analyze the vehicle and determine what is defective or malfunctioning.
  • The vehicle will undergo an entire investigation to see if it meets the safety standards put in place to keep customers safe.
  • The manufacturer or company will make an announcement about the recall and let vehicle owners know that they should stop driving the vehicle immediately.
  • The manufacturer or company will follow up with how they plan to fix the problem. This is usually by making free repairs, replacing certain parts, or providing reimbursements or refunds for the costs of the vehicles purchased.

If the company or manufacturer does not recall the vehicle themselves, it is not unusual for the government to step up and alert the public about the recall. Some of the most recent recalls across the country have involved tires, airbags, brakes, vehicles catching fire, car seats, seat belts, and more.

How can a recall affect my car accident claim?

If your vehicle is recalled for any reason, this does not exactly mean that you automatically qualify for compensation. A recall may help show that there is something wrong with your vehicle due to the manufacturer’s design or manufacturing errors. However, there are many other factors that could strengthen or weaken your accident claim.

A manufacturer that provides the public with a warning about the recall is taking ownership and admitting that the vehicles do not meet the safety requirements. Therefore, if a defective vehicle caused your accident and injured you, your attorney will make the argument that the manufacturer is responsible for your injuries and other losses.

However, if you are in a car accident after a company or manufacturer announces a recall, some of the responsibility is now put on you. The reason for this is because you were required to have your vehicle repaired or replaced as quickly as possible. If you did not get your vehicle repaired or replaced in a prompt manner and you or another person became injured as a result, there is a chance that you and the manufacturer will now share liability. Your attorney will investigate the following facts to determine how your car accident claim could be affected by a recall:

  • When you were notified about the recall
  • Whether you took the initiative to get your car replaced or fixed, such as making an appointment, calling a dealership or mechanic, etc.
  • Whether or not the manufacturer let you know how serious the recall is, what you need to do to meet safety standards, etc.

Sometimes, people receive recall notices about certain vehicle parts, but they do not realize how dangerous it is to continue driving the car. Instead of rushing to get the vehicle fixed, they may think that they can put it off for a couple more months. However, this may cause a dangerous pileup accident, severely injuring several people.

Unfortunately, if this happens, you should be prepared that the manufacturer will likely make the argument that you were partially at fault because you were warned about the recall and still chose to drive the car. If it has only been a couple days or possibly even a week since the recall, your attorney may be able to argue that you did not have enough time to get the car repaired or replaced and that you were not aware of how serious the recall was due to the manufacturer’s lack of details in the recall statement.

What should I do if I’ve been in a car accident and my car is recalled?

If you have been in a car accident and your vehicle is recalled, you should get in touch with an Oklahoma City car accident lawyer at your earliest convenience. They will listen to your side of the story, conduct their own investigation, and determine what your best legal options might be. If an attorney believes that your claim is viable and that you stand a fighting chance, here are some of the ways that they will build a strong and convincing case for you:

  • Show the strong connection between the recall and the car accident: The car accident claim must show that the accident occurred due to the same issue stated in the recall. Your lawyer will do everything possible to show this connection.
  • Collect compelling evidence: Your attorney will work with you to collect photos, video footage, medical records, police reports, witness testimonies, and other important information related to your claim.
  • Identify who is responsible for the accident: It can be very challenging to identify who is responsible for a car accident. This can be the driver, a manufacturer, or another driver. However, your attorney is experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable when it comes to these types of claims and will know exactly what to look for to make this determination.
  • Prepare to stand up and fight aggressively for you: Attorneys know that car companies and manufacturers are ready to defend themselves in every way that they possibly can. Your attorney will build a strong case as well as prepare to stand up and fight aggressively for you.
  • Negotiate: The manufacturer and insurance companies will likely give you low-ball settlement offers. Therefore, you need a lawyer who will never back down and take less than you deserve for your accident and injuries.

At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers have spent over two decades investigating car accidents involving manufacturer recalls. While it may seem difficult to determine the cause and liability for these types of accidents, it is not impossible with the help of a car accident lawyer from our team. Please call or contact our firm today to schedule your initial case review at no cost to you. We will meet with you to discuss your legal options as well as the potential compensation that you may receive.