Automobile recalls are at their highest rate in over a decade, and you can be sure that product liability attorneys are closely monitoring the situation. There were a record 74.2 million recalls in 2014, and there have already been nearly 64 million recalls in 2015. Ironically, auto sales are on track to hit the highest levels in the last 15 years. Consumer advocate groups are voicing legitimate concerns about how and when automakers should inform consumers about safety issues. For the average car owner, the more pressing question is what to do if their car is recalled. It is important to know your rights and what you can expect from the automaker. We will walk you through some steps you should take that will help you make sense of it all, and to get the necessary repairs so you can feel safe in your car.
- Keep calm
There are some serious recall issues facing automobile manufacturers and suppliers. Not every recall carries the magnitude of defective ignition switches, air bags, or faulty accelerator pedals. Many vehicle recalls are typically a precautionary measure. In the great number of cases, a recall of your car does not mean that it is going to breakdown, but the recall identifies a problem in the manufacturing process of a number of similar models, and has the potential to surface in yours.
- Confirm that your vehicle is part of the recall
Manufacturers are required by law, to notify you by mail in the event of a recall. If you suspect that your car is part of a recall, but you have not been contacted by the manufacturer in writing, you can confirm that your car is affected by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) web site. You will need your vehicle identification number (VIN). Typically, you can find the VIN on the driver’s side of the dashboard, or on the driver’s side doorjamb. Your VIN number can also be found on your vehicle insurance card.
- Making the repairs
After you have determined that your car is part of a specific recall, the next step is to determine if you are eligible for free repairs. According to the recall process, if your car is less than 10 years old, the automaker must correct the problem by repairing the car, replacing the car. In rare cases, the manufacturer may be required to provide a refund for the purchase price of the car minus depreciation. If your car is more than 10 years old, you will have to pay for repairs out of pocket. Once you have received a notice, you have to act quickly. Eligibility for reimbursement is determined within 10 days after the manufacturer has mailed out the last recall notice.
- Grace period
The law gives an automaker a grace period to implement a plan of action. At this point, there is nothing to do but wait for further instructions. In most cases, a local dealership will make the necessary repair(s). Dealers are not required to make any repairs before the official date that is determined by the manufacturer.
When there is a problem
If you feel that you are being misled, or you are having difficulty getting your car repaired, you should first contact the specified dealer’s service manager and provide a copy of your recall notification letter. If that doesn’t work, send a letter to the manufacturer. If you still fail to get the proper response, file a complaint online with the NHTSA.
An experienced law firm for product liability in Charlotte, NC
Charlotte personal injury lawyers can intervene and help you when products are lacking or defective and cause harm or injury. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer with substantial experience with various types of product liability cases, consider the attorneys at The Olive Law Firm. They are skilled and qualified attorneys who have handled cases involving defective products, medical devices, and automotive parts. If you or someone in your family has been injured by a defective product, or if someone you love has been injured or has died because of use of a defective or dangerous product, you should speak with an Olive Law Firm product liability attorney right away.