FAQ’s on Automobile Defects and Recalls

What is a vehicle recall?

A vehicle recall occurs when either the automobile manufacturer or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a vehicle model has some type of safety-related defect or does not otherwise comply with federal safety standards. A recall is an alert issued to the owner on record for the affected vehicle. Recall notices are normally submitted in paper form to the car’s owner, but you may also be alerted via other forms of media. Many times, if you take your vehicle in for its normal service appointments, the dealer or mechanic may inform you about a current recall on your car.

What is involved in a recall notification?

A recall letter will include the following information:

  • A list of what models or vehicles are affected;
  • A description of the defect;
  • Information regarding what kinds of risks and hazards are posed by the defect and any warning signs to help spot these defects;
  • How the problem will be fixed, including when the repair will be available and how long the vehicle owner should expect it to take; and
  • Instructions on what the owner should do next.

It is important you follow the instructions provided in the recall letter, which normally involves contacting your local dealer to set a repair appointment. You should always call ahead to make sure the dealer has the parts necessary to complete the recall.

How can I check if my vehicle has a recall on it? 

If you have not received notification from the manufacturer or the NHTSA, you can go directly to the car manufacturer’s web site to see if a recall has been issued on your specific vehicle model. The NHTSA also keeps a running list of all open recalls on their web site. Another option is to check with a dealer in your area that sells your brand of vehicle. They would also be able to pull up information quickly on whether your vehicle has been recalled.

How long do I have to fix my car?

The recall letter will normally provide a date by which you must get your car checked out. Just because your vehicle is included in the recall does not necessarily mean it is defective. It is for this reason that it is important to at least bring your car in to make sure you do not have one of the defective parts that needs to be replaced. We never recommend you ignore a recall letter as it may prevent you from receiving replacement parts in the event the defect presents itself. If the recall involves a tire, however, this repair work must be completed within 60 days of receiving the letter.

How long does a person have to file an auto defect lawsuit in the State of Florida?

When it comes to defective products, the time for the statute of limitations starts running when any facts giving rise to the cause of action are either discovered or should have been discovered. A person injured by an auto defect has four years from that date to sue the person or company involved in the design, manufacture, distribution or sale of the car or part that caused the injury.  

What protections do consumers have when it comes to automobile defects? 

As a consumer, you have rights when it comes to automobile defects, especially if they lead to injuries or property damage. Florida Lemon Law provides protections for consumers dealing with defects or conditions that impair the use, safety or value of a vehicle. If you discover the defect first before a recall is issued, you must report it to the manufacturer or dealer during what is called the “Lemon Law Rights Period,” which covers the first 24 months after the date the consumer receives the car. The manufacturer must make a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defect, and if the manufacturer fails to do this, Florida law requires that the manufacturer buy back the defective vehicle and give the consumer a purchase price refund or a replacement vehicle.  Florida Lemon Law covers only new or demonstrator vehicles that are sold in the state. Additionally, these defects must be discovered in the first 24 months of ownership of the vehicle.

Will I be required to pay for the repairs in the event of a vehicle recall?

If the defect is part of a recall or is something that you had nothing to do with, you should not have to pay anything to have the issue fixed. The key is to take the car to an authorized dealer since they work directly with the car manufacturer and will receive compensation for the fix from the manufacturer themselves.  The dealer should not attempt to charge you for fixing a defect. If they do, it is often best to contact the manufacturer directly or the NHTSA.

Injured as a result of an automobile defect?  Call us today for a free consultation.

Defective motor vehicles threaten the lives of drivers, passengers and others on the road. If you or a loved one have suffered injury or death as the result of a defective motor vehicle or manufacturing error, it is important that you contact an experienced Orlando automobile defect attorney immediately. Our experienced team of product liability and accident attorneys can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail.

Sources:

https://statelaws.findlaw.com/florida-law/florida-statute-of-limitations-for-defective-products.html

https://blog.esurance.com/what-is-a-car-recall-and-how-do-you-deal-with-it/

https://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/Main/a510d1364b15502a85256cc9005da68a

 

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