Most of us use our vehicles on a daily basis, and they are an important part of our daily lives. We drive to work in them, take our kids to soccer practice in them, and use them to embark on cross-country road trips. Our lives are literally in the hands of the safety of our vehicles, and if these safety precautions are found to be faulty, it could lead to auto accidents, passenger injuries, and in the worst-case scenario, even death.
One of the biggest recalls in U.S. History is current underway, and is involving Takata brand airbags. The airbags in question are reported to have been installed in vehicles from 14 different manufacturers in model years between 2002 and 2015. According to reports from Caranddriver.com: “Approximately 34 million vehicles are potentially affected in the United States, and another 7 million have been recalled worldwide.”
The problematic airbag is designed with an inflator filled with propellants and an airbag housing that could potentially rupture in the instance of a crash, and cause injury to the vehicle driver and/or passengers.
The root of the problem has been explained to the public in a piece on Consumerreports.org, stating the following:
“NHTSA has determined the root cause of the problem: airbags that use ammonium nitrate-based propellant without a chemical drying agent. As postulated early on, environmental moisture, high temperatures, and age as associated with the defect that can improperly inflate the airbags and even send shrapnel into the occupant.”
These airbag have a sole purpose, and that’s to protect the passengers. If certain moisture conditions cause them to explode, then they are causing more harm than good. It is the manufacturers responsibility to make the public aware of this situation, and provide replacement service free of charge to the consumer.
What should I do if my car has an Auto Recall?
Recalls have happened with all of the top auto manufacturers, so the chances of a recall or repair notification happing to your vehicle – either major or minor – is very probable. Your safety is of the utmost importance, so there are some important aspects that you need to consider when you are faced with a potential recall. So we have prepared some great tips and advice regarding factory car recalls and what to do.
#1: Be Aware and Proactive about Car Malfunctions.
If you notice an indicator light flashing on your vehicle, or suspect that something is unusual with your vehicle, you should get it inspected and fixed. This is especially important with malfunctions that would potentially compromise the safety of the vehicle.
And what happens in the instance that you get something fixed before a recall? Good news is that even if you got something repaired in your car up to a year before an official recall, as mentioned on Bankrate.com, the automaker is legally required to reimburse you for the work.
Not every malfunction that is discovered by an auto manufacturer will make it to a full recall, as each one costs significant amounts of time and money for the manufacturer. Alternately, they will opt to send out repair bulletins to dealerships and certified private mechanic shops about items and conditions in their vehicles that they “recommend” to be repaired during regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance.
#2: Don’t Wait! – Get Car Recall and Replacement Parts Taken Care of ASAP.
When a recall is issued, the auto makers are required to send you a notification about the recall, but it’s up to You – as vehicle owner – to have the repair done. It’s reported that 30 percent of owners never actually take the time to get the work done after they get recall notices. And this negligence leaves you to blame in the case of an accident or incident. We recommend that you act upon the initial warnings, and take care of it as soon as possible so that your vehicle is performing properly, and is safe for you and your loved ones to travel.
#3: Do Your Homework!
In order to protect yourself, when you have a car maintenance scheduled, we recommend checking to see if there are any reports, bulletins, or recalls out for your vehicle. You can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for recall info here. All you have to do is enter your vehicle’s VIN number and you will get all the current info related to your specific vehicle.
#4: Make Sure You Get Your Recall Notice!
Manufacturers will send out recall notices to the original owners of each vehicle that they have on record. So if you aren’t the original owner of the vehicle, make sure that your local dealership has your current address and that they relay this information to the vehicle manufacturer. And in the event that you move addresses, make sure that you notify them, as well as the DMV, of your updated information.
You can also be on the safe side and sign up for recall mailing lists directly from NHTSA.gov or the manufacturers themselves. This way, you won’t miss a beat, and will be informed about any issue that might affect your vehicle.
#5: Contact an Experienced Auto Recall Attorney.
If you experience an injury in an auto accident that is related to an auto defect or an auto recall, we recommend that you reach out to a lawyer that has experience dealing with auto manufacturer companies, and can fight for you! They will help you not only achieve higher settlements, but they will also help speed up the entire process!
We should all learn from the tragic events that have so far caused fourteen deaths and more than 100 injuries because of the defective Takata airbags. We need to keep the auto manufacturers in check, as well as third-party companies that provide parts for these major automakers manufacturers in check in regards to the safety of their vehicles, and to conduct thorough safety inspections on their new models and not cut corners in order to reduce manufacturing costs. We, as the consumers, need to ensure that our vehicles are routinely inspected and maintained in order to ensure our safety and others out on the road.
This article has been provided courtesy of Panish Shea & Boyle. They are renowned auto defect and auto recall lawyers in Los Angeles with a long record of successful cases with major auto and tire manufacturers, including Takata, General Motors, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Goodyear, Perelli and more. So if you find yourself subject to an injury due to an auto malfunction, potential recall, or are having issues dealing with a manufacturer regarding a faulty vehicle, you should contact the law offices of Panish Shea & Boyle in Los Angeles today! 1-877-800-1700
Feature image courtesy of Benjamin Allen.