The NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) keeps close records of safety recall issues.  A few common defects that may lead to a recall include: 

  • Accelerator pedals or brake mechanisms that freeze suddenly
  • Air bag deployment defects
  • Vehicle steering parts that break or malfunctions causing a possible loss of control
  • Wiring flaws and fuel leaks that could potentially cause fire
  • Faulty or defective tires
  • Failure of cars to meet emissions standards
  • Defects with the car’s onboard electronics systems

What are some recent automobile recalls?

Recently Toyota has issued a recall for numerous vehicle models due to problems with accelerator pedals as well as floor mats. The defects cause the accelerator to become stuck, which has led to several fatal accidents. Some of the affected models include:
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry (not including Camry Hybrid models
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2008-2010 Highlander
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2204-2009 Prius
  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe
  • Lexus models:
    • 2007-2010 Lexus ES350
    • 2006-2010 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350

Other recent recalls by other manufacturers include:

  • Many Ford Explorers were equipped with defective Firestone and Bridgestone tires, which resulted in hundreds of accidents and deaths.  Ford and Firestone have now recalled thousands of Explorers.
  • Ford Explorers may also rollover due to design flaws.  Class action law suits have failed, although individuals may still successfully sue Ford.
    • BMW has recalled close to 60,000 X5 SUVs due to brake pedal defects
    • BMW recently recalled 40,000 Minis worldwide
    • Daimer-Chrysler recently recalled close to 200,000 Jeeps in Europe
    • Nissan has recalled over 2.5 million sedans and minivans worldwide over the past couple years

What types of remedies are available if I have purchased a car that has been recalled?

If you have purchased a car that has recently been recalled, you may be entitled to several legal remedies, including:
  • Economic damages: you may be able to recoup lost value of the car’s resale value. You may also be able to recover for loss of use of the car
  • Personal injury recovery: if the defective automobile resulted in physical injuries to you, you may be able to recover for the costs associated with the injury
  • Class action: If the recall has affected enough numbers of consumers, a class action lawsuit might be an available option
  • Manufacturer reimbursement: Inquire whether you may be compensated for repairs or for a replacement vehicle

Note that the specific laws covering products liability will vary somewhat from state to state. Also, each individual automobile manufacture may have different policies stated in their warranty provisions. Thus, you may wish to contact an attorney to determine what your options for recovery are.

If a defective condition was discovered in your car upon purchase, you should notify the manufacturer or a government agency as soon as possible. If a recall has not yet been issued, the information you provide may help initiate the recall process. 

Should I contact a lawyer regarding an automobile recall dispute?

If you are involved in a situation involving a recalled vehicle, you should contact a personal injury attorney to determine what your legal rights are. Cars are a major investment, and other areas of your life sometimes depend on having a working vehicle (such as commuting to work). Therefore it is in your best interest to make sure that the car you drive is safe and in working condition when you purchase one from a major auto dealer.