vehicle recall laws

Vehicle Recall? Here’s What You Need To Do Next

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I’m an avid tweeter (@derekwilsonlaw). Most of the time I tweet about personal injury news, Ontario traffic laws and safety tips to help people avoid personal injury lawsuits.

I follow several car companies and people who advocate for car safety and recently I noticed a disturbing trend: An increase in vehicle recalls—with a decrease in people actually doing something about it.

Essentially, there are currently thousands of cars still on the road that have been recalled for safety, which leads me to believe that A) People aren’t aware of the safety recall or B) People are choosing to ignore it and are choosing to drive anyway.

The latter enrages me.

These individuals not only pose a threat to themselves, but other people on the road.

That being said, I’m sure there are people who simply have no idea what to do about their vehicle recall.

Let’s walk through the steps now:

Step 1: Don’t Panic

If your vehicle is recalled, you’ll likely receive a recall letter in the mail (or electronically if you have an account with your dealer) containing the following information:

  • A description of the defect
  • The risk or hazard posed by the defect (including the injuries it may cause)
  • Potential warning signs
  • How the manufacturer plans to fix the problem (including when the repair is available and how long it may take)
  • Instructions on what to do next

It seems easy enough; just follow the instructions and you’re good to go.

But not every recall letter falls into the right hands. It might be misplaced within your junk mail or get sent to your old address.

In any case, you can stay up-to-date on recalls by visiting the NHTSA’s website. I suggest checking this website twice a year to ensure your car continues meeting safety standards.

It’s important not to panic. Safety recalls aren’t usually for imminent dangers; however, if your car poses an immediate threat, you will be contacted by phone and the situation will likely be on the news.

Even if it’s not imminent, you don’t get a free pass to ignore the recall and continue driving as you normally would; your recall notice should present you with alternative transportation options.

If you’re confused, call your dealership. If they don’t help, call the manufacturer. If you’re still having problems, contact the NHTSA.

Step 2: Bring Your Car Into The Dealership

The letter you received will tell you what day you can bring your car in for the repair, and which dealership is closest to you. Be aware you might have to wait up to 60 days for the repair.

My advice? Bring your car in as soon as possible. If that means waking up at 6am to get to the dealership for 7am, do it. If the recall is big news, you may have to wait in line so earlier is better.

The process isn’t an exciting one. It can be painstaking and long, but when you and your family’s safety is on the line, it’s worth the wait.

Step 3: Monitor Your Vehicle Carefully

That’s it. Once your vehicle is repaired, you can go home with the comfort and satisfaction of knowing your vehicle is up to safety standards.

Monitor your vehicle closely over the next few weeks and follow up with your dealership should you notice any irregularities.

As a personal injury lawyer, I handle product liability cases on a frequent basis. Although most car companies are active in their quest to inform customers of defects, not every company is (as we recently saw with the GM ignition scandal.)

If you’ve been hurt as a result of a product defect, I urge you to come forward. Your actions may not only help you get the compensation you need, but they could also save others from suffering the same injury.

Do you have questions about a recall or product defect? Reach out anytime for a free, no obligation consultation.


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