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Who Is Liable If a Recalled Car or Truck Caused the Accident?

Posted in Auto Accidents

Motor vehicles consist of thousands of parts and complex systems that must work together to operate safely and effectively. If one of these parts contains a defect, it could break or malfunction in transit, causing a serious auto accident.

It is an auto manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of its vehicles. If you were in an accident involving a car or truck that was recalled due to a defective part, find out who may be liable (financially responsible) for your medical bills, property repairs and other damages.

Liability in the case a Recalled Car or Truck Caused the Accident

What Is a Vehicle Recall?

A vehicle recall is an official announcement released to the public that an auto manufacturer or safety organization has detected a defective auto part that compromises the safety of a vehicle. A vehicle recall often starts with a complaint from a customer who noticed something wrong when driving the vehicle or who got into an accident because of a part defect. After receiving a complaint, the manufacturing company will investigate.

Common vehicle part defects that result in recalls include:

  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Steering systems
  • Seatbacks
  • Roof systems
  • Seat belts
  • Airbags
  • Electronic systems/software
  • Accelerators
  • Fuel tanks and lines

If after an investigation a manufacturer or government agency confirms that a car or truck is not safe to use, it will publicly announce a recall. It will also notify all known buyers and owners of the car or truck about the recall. In this notification, the manufacturing company will offer a remedy, such as a free repair or replacement part. The recall notice will also let customers know whether or not it is safe to continue driving the vehicle.

Who Is Liable for a Recalled Vehicle Accident?

If a defective car part caused your auto accident in Albuquerque, you may have grounds to hold multiple parties legally responsible. Automakers have a legal duty to identify safety issues with their products and warn consumers of known dangers. First, you may have grounds against the automaker for using a defective part, failing to conduct proper safety tests before distributing the vehicle or withholding information about a known risk.

Second, you could hold a part manufacturer responsible for creating a part with a design, manufacturing or marketing defect. This is what is known as a product liability claim. You may not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent if you have grounds for a strict product liability claim.

In this scenario, you would only need to prove that the car or truck contained a defect and that this is what caused your accident. Under New Mexico law, you may also have grounds to hold a dealership, distributor, retailer or others responsible for a recalled vehicle accident.

What to Do After an Accident From a Part Defect

If you get injured in a car or truck accident and believe a defective part is to blame, such as a tire blowout accident or unexpected brake failure, remain calm and report the accident to the police. Having a police report can be vital to your insurance claim. While still at the scene, take photographs of your wrecked vehicle and any other relevant details. Then, go to a hospital in Albuquerque immediately for medical care.

If you received a recall notice from the vehicle manufacturer before your collision, read it carefully. If the recall warned you not to operate your vehicle before getting it repaired, this could hurt your chances of holding the manufacturing company responsible for your crash. If it did not tell you not to drive, however, or if you never received a recall notice, you can hold the manufacturer liable for your damages.

Before you proceed with a product liability claim, consult with a car accident attorney in Albuquerque for legal advice. An attorney can let you know if you have grounds for a claim, as well as help you identify the correct defendant(s). Then, your lawyer can represent you during insurance settlement negotiations or a product liability lawsuit. Discuss your recalled car or truck accident in more detail with an attorney today.