Auto recalls have become a common occurrence. In 2014, there were more vehicles recalled than in any other year. ABC News reports that a total of 550 recall notices were issued for more than 52 million vehicles that year. And 2015, while it has yet to be concluded, has not been much different. From January through early August 2015, there were 32.4 million vehicles recalled in nearly 500 different recall campaigns, according to The Detroit News.
With millions of vehicles being recalled due to defects that make them potentially dangerous, understanding how to know if your vehicle is safe is incredibly important. The following considers some of the major recalls you should know about, how to search for recalls, what to do if your vehicle is recalled, and your rights if you are injured in a defective vehicle.
Major Recalls in 2014 and 2015
While some recall notices did not get much attention in 2014 and 2015, others were the center of significant news coverage and federal interventions. Here is a look at some major vehicle recalls in the recent past:
- Takata airbag recalls. In 2015, Takata, a Japanese automotive parts company, issued one of the largest recalls in history for its defective airbags. According to an article in CNN Money, the company recalled airbags in approximately 34 million vehicles. The recall was based on a defect in the airbags that made them prone to explosion upon impact, sending shrapnel flying through the air and into victims’ bodies. A least five people in the U.S. died as a result of the defective airbags, and victims of the airbags appear to have been shot or stabbed, according to police. The recall affects multiple car makes and models, including those from Honda, Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Infiniti, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.
- General Motors ignition recalls. General motors recalled 26 million cars in 2014, most of which were due to defective ignition switches. The ignition switches could cause the vehicles to turn off suddenly and unexpectedly, putting drivers and their passengers in danger.
- Fiat Chrysler recalls. In 2015, more than one-third of U.S. recalls involved vehicles made by Fiat Chrysler. In fact, there were more than 24 Fiat Chrysler recall campaigns in the U.S. alone, resulting in the recall of more than 10.2 million vehicles. Some of these recalls were Takata airbag-related, whereas others were based on an electrical problem in the vehicles that can cause unexpected stalling.
The list above highlights just a few of the biggest recalls that have occurred in recent months and years.
The Importance of Staying Up-to-Date on Vehicle Recall Safety as a Consumer
If your vehicle is recalled, you will receive a recall notice in the mail instructing you on what to do next, including where you can have your vehicle repaired and how repairs will be paid for. However, you do not have to wait until you receive a notice in the mail to learn about vehicle safety. Recall information is also readily available online.
You can use SaferCar.gov to search your vehicle’s VIN (serial number) and find out any recall information related to your automobile. Consumer Reports also has a search feature that you can use to learn pertinent vehicle recall safety information. If you are curious about your vehicle safety in general, you can use SaferCar.gov’s Find and Compare Crash Test Ratings online service. This can be especially helpful when purchasing a new vehicle.
What Happens if I Am in an Accident Involving an Unsafe Car?
Just because your vehicle has a defect does not mean that it will be recalled in time, or even at all. Because of this, an accident may occur that you could not have foreseen, and that would not have occurred but for the defective vehicle or vehicle part. In other instances, a defect may not be the cause of the crash, but it could make injuries worse than they otherwise would have been. If you sustain injuries as a result, you may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation.
Those parties who may be implicated in a lawsuit for damages may include the vehicle manufacturer, a vehicle part manufacturer, or a vehicle or vehicle part distributor, such as a car dealer. A South Carolina attorney can help you to understand on whose shoulder liability may fall, how you can prove liability, and how you can recover compensation for the damages that you have suffered.
If a defectively designed or manufactured vehicle has caused your injuries, you typically must file your action for damage recovery within three years of the date that your injuries occurred, per South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 15- Civil Remedies and Procedures. However, time frames may vary, which is why it is important to speak with a lawyer.
How a Defective Product Attorney Can Help You
Proving that your injuries would not have occurred but for a vehicle defect can be difficult, which is part of the reason why it is very important that you have a legal professional on your side who understands these complex claims.
At Joye Law Firm, we have experience representing victims of defective vehicles. In fact, we secured a verdict of more than $262 million on the behalf of a victim who was killed by a defective Dodge Caravan. That verdict amount was the largest verdict ever returned against an automotive manufacturer at the time it was issued. You can read more about how the Chrysler case was resolved on our website.
We know what it takes to win an action against a vehicle manufacturer. If you have been injured, do not wait any longer to contact us. You can reach us by calling our office or filling out a contact form online.