Skip to main content

Legal Options for Failed Vehicle Recall


recall stock photo

Sponsored content

When someone buys a new vehicle, the vehicle can have a defect that can make it unsafe to drive and needs fixing as soon as possible. Therefore, necessitating the need for a recall. A vehicle recall occurs when a car manufacturer or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovers that a vehicle model has a safety-related problem or does not meet federal safety standards.

“No manufacturer wants to be found liable for a product defect, and the compensation of the damages is no joke at all,” says Attorney Russell J. Berkowitz of Berkowitz Hanna Malpractice & Injury Lawyers. Following the defect discovery, the next action is to send recall notices to vehicle owners for the defective vehicle repair or replacement. Suppose the manufacturer fails to repair or replace the vehicle once the owner sends out a recall notice and the vehicle causes any injury. In that case, the owner has every right to file a claim for failed recall and a product liability lawsuit.

Safety and Non-Safety Related Recalls

There are two types of vehicle recalls, safety-related and non-safety-related defects. Safety-related defects refer to a vehicle problem or its component that puts the vehicle safety at risk and can affect a set of other Vehicles with the same designs, manufacturers, or parts. Failure of steering components, inoperable windshield wiper assemblies, stuck or breaking gas pedals, and failing seats during use are all examples of safety-related faults.

Engine cooling fan failure, wiring system problems, unnecessary airbags, defective wheels, and failure of other critical vehicle components that could result in loss of control or injury to passengers or others are all examples of safety-related defects. Non-Safety Related recalls, on the other hand, include defects with vehicle components such as increased oil intake, malfunctioning radios, and air conditioning components. It also includes batteries, exhaust systems, body panel rust, poor paint quality, and other parts that wear out frequently.

Recall Notice

The owners of specific products that have problems that could be dangerous are the ones that frequently receive Recall Notice. The individual receiving the recall notice via mail or email has the option of returning the product to the manufacturer or a merchant, who will repair or refund the purchase price. In the case of vehicles, the recall includes a free repair for the defective parts that can potentially cause harm.

The manufacturer will fix or replace the vehicle before returning it to the owner. The recall usually fixes the problem with few complications during or after the repair. A recall notice has the following information: The make and model of the car in question, the defect description, information on the defect risks and hazards, as well as any warning indications that can help you discover the defects.

The recall notice also provides information on how to resolve the problem, when the repair will be ready, how long it will take, and what the vehicle owner should do next. However, you must follow the recall letter recommendations, which often include contacting your local dealer to schedule a repair appointment.

What Recall Remedy Rights Do You Have?

Understanding your rights as a vehicle owner during a recall is critical; federal law guarantees you a free recall remedy. You are not required to pay for it, and the manufacturer should contact you with instructions on how to repair your vehicle. It means you should receive a letter in the mail notifying you of the recall, the solution, when and how to fix the defects.

It is worth noting that, while your recall remedy is free, the manufacturer typically chooses the remedy option. Although federal law requires that your vehicle safety issues need fixing, it does not give you a choice of remedy. You do not have the right to demand a complete refund if a recall offers to fix your car or replace a piece or component.

What to Do If the Recall Fails and Results in Injury or Damage?

There may be situations where the recall fails to resolve the issue identified on the recall paper. In that case, the owner of the vehicle will need to call the manufacturer’s attention to it. While this has to be done as quickly as possible, it prevents injuries or further damages. However, in most cases, the recall adequately handles the issue.

When vehicle defects cause harm, the vehicle company can resolve the case outside the court. They can do this by offering a compensation amount that is fair and reasonable to cover medical bills and any extra property damage to the car. If the company refuses to pay compensation, the vehicle owner may need to contact an attorney.

Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit After a Recall

If you have a vehicle that is part of a recall, the manufacturer may repair it for free, replace it, or offer you a refund; but this does not compensate you for any damage you may have sustained as a result of the defect. When a defective vehicle or its component causes an accident that ends in an injury, it is your right to sue the vehicle manufacturer or any negligent party, such as a car dealer who knowingly sold you a defective vehicle.

A product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of a defective and recalled vehicle would claim that: The manufacturer had an obligation to create a risk-free Vehicle; the manufacturer failed to fulfill this obligation by designing a defective one. The product liability lawsuit could also include that the vehicle defect was the cause of the accident and that the accident caused harm, such as mental injuries, physical injuries, missing work for days, permanent disability or deformity, medical bills, and more.

Before filing a claim, you should consult with an experienced attorney. It is crucial to note that if you drive your car after being informed of the defect and instructed not to drive, you may be unable to receive compensation in a product liability claim when hurt due to the vehicle defect.


The federal criteria for vehicle safety define specific minimum performance standards for components of a vehicle that are considered vital for its safe functioning. They also lay out the minimum criteria for protecting vehicle owners in the event of a collision. All vehicles and vehicle components authorized for use on public highways and roads must meet these safety requirements.

When a vehicle or its components does not meet the federal criteria for safety, A recall is therefore required. Vehicle Manufacturers are accountable for handling recalls as quickly as possible, whether it is a simple repair, a simple change, or a total replacement. They may also be held accountable for any harm caused by a defective vehicle.

[Image via Pexels]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: