Even with the greatest of care, our vehicles are not built to last forever. Vehicle defects, repairs and manufacturer recalls can arise. Being aware of your car’s condition and regularly checking for recalls on your vehicle is important. According to Carfax, more than 3 million vehicles in Florida have at least one unfixed safety hazard. In the event that a defect has been identified, either the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may recall the vehicle.
Some states require the dealership notify vehicle owners of a recall, while others do not. If you receive such notification, you should immediately bring your vehicle in for replacement or repair. Typically, this is done free of charge by the dealership. Though many manufacturers notify car owners of a vehicle defect, there are many consumers who never receive notice of pending recalls. Vehicle owners who are not notified must rely on the NHTSA, where all pending recalls can be tracked on its website.
All cars sold in the U.S. should be able to keep drivers and passengers safe in the event of a collision, using in-vehicle safety systems. This is known as being “crashworthy.” As a general rule, if you are involved in an automobile accident where a vehicle defect is to blame for a serious injury or death you can file a lawsuit against ALL of the parties involved in the chain of distribution (i.e. – the path the product takes from manufacture to distribution to customers).
For example, if you were involved in a car accident and seriously injured by the vehicle’s defective airbag, you can bring a defective liability claim against both the vehicle manufacturer and the manufacturer of the airbag as well as any additional participants in the chain of distribution (i.e. – the retailer, wholesaler or distributor, etc.) It is important to remember that there may be more than one potential defendant within each of these categories.
Unlike other personal injury / auto accident claims, you do not need to prove that your car manufacturer was careless or negligent. The strict liability legal standard allows you to make a claim without proving your manufacturer’s carelessness, but only if the following conditions exist:
- Your vehicle or a part of it had an “unreasonably dangerous” defect that injured you;
- The defect occurred while the vehicle was being used as intended;
- The vehicle was in nearly the same condition as it was when purchased.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists the following most-common reasons as to why a vehicle is recalled:
- Weaknesses within a vehicle’s body or frame
- Airbags that deploy late, not at all or with excessive force
- Wheels that crack or break
- Faulty brake system
- Electrical system issues
- Trouble with the engine assembly
- Fuel system problems
- Steering and suspension difficulty
- Slipping transmission
Car accidents happen, but your vehicle should be equipped with basic safety features designed to keep you safe in the event of a crash, such as seat belts, sound airbags and durable frames.
Cars that fail to work correctly, despite repeated repairs, are known as “lemons.” Lemons typically have a defect of some kind that significantly affects the owner’s ability to properly operate the car. Florida’s automobile Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act, known as the “Lemon Law,” has created arbitration boards throughout the state to hear and resolve complaints between car owners and manufacturers. If you are a vehicle owner who has either purchased or leased a defective automobile, Florida’s lemon law offers you legal recourse and you may be entitled to a full refund or replacement of your vehicle. Your vehicle is eligible under the Florida Lemon Law for only the first 24 months after purchase.
Michael T. Gibson, P.A. – Your Orlando Automobile Defect / Product Liability Law Firm
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 / Product Liability Lawyer 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.