How Car Recalls Affect Your Car Accident Case

Cars and other vehicles have numerous parts that make the car operate, that are supposed to provide protection in emergencies, and that add comfortable features to the vehicle. If any car part is defective, the defect can cause death or serious injuries. Silverman, McDonald & Friedman is ready to process your products liability case. Contact us in Newark, Seaford, or Wilmington to discuss your right to hold car manufacturers accountable for your injuries.

Filing a product liability lawsuit

Anyone injured by a car that has a defective car part has the right to file a products liability claim. Drivers and passengers of the defective vehicle or another vehicle, pedestrians, and bicycle riders can all file a products liability claim. The basic requirements for a products liability claim are:

  • The car part must be defective at the time of the accident
  • The defect was the cause of the accident
  • The accident must be the cause of a victim’s injuries or death

Products are generally named “defective” because of:

  • Design flaws
  • Poor workmanship, such as using sub-quality parts because they cost less than quality parts
  • Faulty instructions and/or failure to warn about potential risks

In product liability cases, the defendants are strictly liable. Strict liability means the there is no need to prove fault. There is no need, for example, to show that the parts manufacturer failed to conduct adequate testing of the car part.

Defendants in a products liability case include more than just the car manufacturer or the car part manufacturer. They also include distributors and retailers of the cars or car parts.

The relationships between a car product recall and a product liability lawsuit

Cars are recalled because the entire car is considered defective or because a car part is considered defective. In some cases, the cars are recalled by the car manufacturer based on internal investigations by the manufacturer. In other cases, investigations are begun by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA typically processes hundreds or thousands of consumer complaints that lead to an investigation. If the investigation reveals that the car part is defective, the NHTSA can force a recall of the vehicle.

Examples of defects that can lead to a car recall include:

  • Defective air bags
  • Brake systems that malfunction
  • Unsafe tires
  • Steering problems that can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle
  • Defects in the car’s electronic system
  • Faulty accelerators that prevent the car from moving or cause the car to move too fast
  • Fuel leaks that could cause a fire

Takata airbag recalls

A few recent car recalls of vehicles with Takata airbags was reported in Car and Driver magazine.

On December 5, 2019, Takata announced a recall of 1.4 million “older driver’s-side airbag inflators” on certain US cars designed between 1995 and 2000. The deflators may deploy too slowly or may rupture depending on the amount of moisture in the inflator, according to a NHTSA filing.

BMW has identified the affected models for its cars. Other car makers that may have the defective inflators, depending on the model and whether the car is still in service are:

  • Audi
  • Honda
  • Toyota
  • Mitsubishi

Honda announced on March 12, 2019 a recall of 1.1 million cars. The recall is designed to remove unsafe vehicles from the roadways until the airbag inflators can be replaced.

Recalls are never 100% effective. The recalls are usually based on accidents or incidents involving the car part which may have injured or killed someone. Many purchasers of the vehicle are not aware of the recall. Notices generally are sent to the buyers of record, so buyers who purchase a car second-hand may not get notice of the recall. Many owners move and the recall notice is sent to wrong address.

The recent recall of Takata airbags is not their first recall. Previously Chrysler Ford, and Toyota recalled their vehicles which were equipped with defect Takata passenger-side vehicles.

Defective car products can cause deaths or catastrophic injuries. There’s no excuse for putting company profits ahead of rider safety. At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, our experienced Delaware product liability lawyers work with product safety professionals to verify a defective car part caused an accident and injuries. To speak with a respected trial lawyer, call us at 302.314.5553 or use our contact form. We have offices in Wilmington, Newark, and Seaford.