Recall Injury FAQ

michaelAt this point, General Motors has issued a recall on approximately 2.6 million vehicles that relate to the ignition switch issue and at this point there are known to be approximately 13 deaths related to this particular safety issue.

The Basics Of Recall Explained

shutterstock_193955294What does a recall mean?

A recall is a request by a manufacturer to return to them an entire production run of a product, usually because of a safety issue or a product defect. This is normally done to limit the liability for corporate negligence and to avoid any bad publicity because of a malfunction or safety issue with their product.

What is a vehicle recall?

A vehicle recall occurs when a vehicle manufacturer of an automobile or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration determines that a car model has a safety-related defect or does not comply with a federal safety standard. And this – when that happens, usually an automaker will alert owners to the problem and offer to repair the issue for free.

It does not mean that the entire vehicle will be replaced; it just means that the issue with regard to the safety of a particular part of the vehicle will be corrected.

How does a car recall work?

A car recall happens by a manufacturer deciding that they want to recall a particular model run of a vehicle because of a safety issue, and the manufacturer identifies who they have to notify usually using the DMV records of owners of the car or registration documents of owners of the car. Then the manufacturer explains to the consumers, usually in a letter that the consumer will receive about what the potential safety hazards are, how to get the problem corrected, when the remedy or correction will be made available, how long it will take to fix the vehicle, and who to contact if there is a problem

How long does a car recall last?

A car recall usually lasts for a set period of time, set by the manufacturer. It can be anywhere from six months or a year. They attempt to notify as many car owners as possible and try to repair as many of the defects as they can during some certain time period and it varies by manufacturer.

If the time period lapses, can I still get the car repaired?

If a time period lapses, you can still contact the manufacturer or your local car dealership to see if they are willing to make the necessary repairs.

How does someone find out if their car is recalled?

Recalls are issued in one of two ways: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is a government entity that’s in charge of keeping our highways safe, issues a recall based on its analysis of potential problems submitted by drivers. Or, secondly, the manufacturer of the vehicle will issue the recall themselves after becoming aware of the problem. Manufacturers are required to notify those people that own the vehicle that’s been recalled by a physical mailing, if they have your information. Otherwise, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posts online on their website a recall for any vehicles that have safety issues.

How does someone claim a recall on a vehicle?

A recall letter should be sent to each person who purchased that particular automobile and in the letter there will be a description of the defect or the problem, there will be a listing of the risks posted by the problem, including the types of injuries that it can cause, there will be a list of potential warning signs. It will tell you how the manufacturer plans to fix the problem, including when the repair will be available and how long it will take, and instructions on what you should do next.

Normally, you will be instructed to call your local dealer to set up a repair appointment. If you don’t receive a letter, you can search through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s site and the manufacturer’s still obligated to repair the defect. The site is updated usually before the actual letters go out, so if you look at the site it’ll tell you what steps to follow in order to get your vehicle repaired.

What GM Cars Are Being Recalled

Auto LotThat’s a great question. I know that the GM documents that have been made public so far show that there are problems with faulty ignitions that have gone back as far as 2004, even though there was not a recall until February of this year, 2014. The faulty ignitions seem to be a problem on models as late as – as recent as 2010. The recall for GM, my understanding at this point covers Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac G5s, Saturn Ions, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Skys, and a variety of other Chevrolet models.

If you go to the NHSTA website it will list specifically those models that have been recalled.

What Should Someone Do If Their GM Car Was Recalled In 2014?

shutterstock_22693168If your GM car has been recalled in 2014, you need to contact your local General Motors dealership – whoever manufactures your vehicle – and schedule an appointment to have your vehicle safety issue repaired. And once that’s been scheduled, the dealership will tell you how long that will take and what steps you need to do to get that completed.

At this point, General Motors has issued a recall on approximately 2.6 million vehicles that relate to the ignition switch issue, where the ignition switch has been known to shut off while cars are in motion, which will disable its power steering, its airbags. At this point there are known to be approximately 13 deaths related to this particular safety issue.

What Impact If Any Will GM’s Public Apology Have On Pending Or Future Litigation

shutterstock_22693168The apology or any information or statements made by General Motors to either a U.S. Senate inquiry or to the general public in release of statements of information will be used against General Motors in any future litigation. Those statements, if they are against the interest of General Motors, are normally admissible in a courtroom.

What does a plaintiff need to prove in a personal injury or wrongful death claim against GM if harmed while riding in a recalled vehicle?

Well, GM knew about this problem from the documents that have been produced so far, since about 2004, but have failed to fix it until now. And that has obviously created an unreasonably dangerous condition for drivers or passengers in one of these recalled vehicles.

If you want to bring a claim for a personal injury or a wrongful death against General Motors, you need to contact a lawyer as quickly as possible. The vehicle that was involved in the accident needs to be examined so that the determination can be made that the ignition switch was in fact the cause of the accident. So it’s very important to contact a lawyer as quickly as you can so that the vehicle may be preserved. So that the determination can be made as to what actually caused the accident.

It Seems Like GM Waited Too Long to Issue a Recall. What Impact Does Inaction Have on Proving Negligence?

shutterstock_22693168Well, the documents that have been released show that General Motors potentially knew about this problem as far back as 2004. The fact that they failed to fix the problem for nearly 10 years, shows their intentional and willful neglect and the fact that they put profit over people in attempting to make more monies and save the cost of the repair while endangering the lives of millions of people on a daily basis.

So, the fact that they failed to take action actually contributes to their negligence.

Can A Federal Judge Force GM To Tell Owners Not To Operate Affected Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration governs use of vehicles on roadways in the United States as well as requirements of car manufacturers in the event of a recall. Those laws will govern what is necessary for General Motors to do in the event of a recall.

And so, a judge will not issue an order telling individuals not to use their vehicle. All that a federal judge can do is to hear claims brought because of injuries or costs related to the recall of this particular issue.

Should GM Voluntarily Provide Rental Cars For Owners Of Recalled Vehicles Until They Are Fixed

At this point, GM is providing payment for rental costs and repairs. They have estimated that they are facing approximately $750 million in charges for the first quarter to cover the cost of these repairs and rental cars.

When you contact your dealership to schedule a repair, due to the recall, the car manufacturer or the dealership will provide you with a rental car or information on how to get reimbursed for the cost of the rental car.

Should Personal Injury Plaintiffs In A GM Vehicle Recall Case Join A Class Action Lawsuit Or File An Individual Claim

Lawyers in many of the General Motors lawsuits are seeking to have the cases consolidated and handled by the same judge that was overseeing the Toyota Motor Corporation sudden-acceleration litigation. The Toyota Motor Corporation litigation ultimately resulted in a $1.63 billion settlement. The district judge, which is based in California, has obviously a unique experience in handling these types of cases and is looking at a request currently to consolidate them all into one.

Obviously, if you have suffered an injury or death – your loved one – because of the faulty ignition switch on a General Motors vehicle, you have the right to either join in a class action or to have a lawyer separately bring your claim individually. Ultimately that’s a decision that is made between you and your lawyer, so seeking legal counsel as quickly as possible is extremely important.

What Will Happen If The Federal Government Files Criminal Charges Against GM

If the federal government determines that there was a criminal act by a cover-up of information that leads them to believe that General Motors knew of this faulty ignition and failed to do anything, normally when a corporation is indicted by the government, they ultimately reach a resolution by paying a sum of money to the government for their wrongful actions.

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Today

At Steinger, Greene and Feiner, our experienced personal injury lawyers have the strong legal backgrounds and extensive legal knowledge that you need to have the best chance of a successful personal injury claim. Whether you are negotiating a settlement outside of court or proving your claim to a jury, you can trust us to use our legal skills to help you get the best outcome possible.
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