Ignition Switch Recall

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 When is an Auto Recall Necessary?

A car defect is any fault in a motor vehicle which is a result of the actions of the manufacturer of the vehicle. In a motor vehicle defect claim, the term motor vehicle may include:

  • Trucks;
  • Vans;
  • Busses; and
  • Motorcycles.

In other words, this term is not limited to a passenger var. It is important to note that the term does not include a boat or other type of watercraft.

With a lawsuit or a car defects recall, a motor vehicle defect typically refers only to those flaws which create safety hazards. It may also refer to flaws which may result in the injury of the operator of the vehicle or the passengers.

An aesthetic flaw, which may include a misplaced decal or a botched paint job is not typically the subject of a vehicle defects claim. Examples of some of the most commonly claimed motor vehicle defects may include:

  • Gas pedal or brake defects, including when pedals getting stuck or jammed;
  • Safety equipment defects, including airbag failure or safety belt failure;
  • Fuel, exhaust, and cooling system flaws;
  • Misaligned steering mechanisms;
  • Structural problems in the frame, body, transmission, or engine assembly; and
  • Electrical and computer problems, such as defective keyless fobs.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards set the minimum performance requirements for those parts of vehicles which will most likely affect their operation. The parts of the vehicle may include but is not limited to:

  • Brakes;
  • Tires;
  • Steering wheel; or
  • Lighting.

Anything which deals with the protection of a vehicle operator and passenger safety is required to meet the minimum requirements which are set by the federal motor safety standards. A recall of a vehicle may become necessary when the vehicle or vehicle part does not comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and there is a safety-related defect in the equipment in the vehicle.

Who Decides to Recall a Defective Vehicle or Part?

The party that is responsible for recalling a defective vehicle or party may vary based upon what is being recalled. A recall is usually initiated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or by the vehicle manufacturer once a defect in the design or manufacturing of part or all of a vehicle is discovered.

Any party to the distribution chain of the product may be held liable for a product defect. Examples of parties that may be held liable and may issue a recall include:

  • The product’s manufacturer, as previously noted;
  • The party that was responsible for assembling or installing the defective product;
  • The manufacturer of the component parts; and
  • The retailer who sold the defective product to the consumer.

What Are Some Common Car Defects that Require Recall?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration maintains records of safety recall issues. In addition the defects which were discussed above, other common defects which may lead to a recall include:

  • Air bag deployment defects;
  • Vehicle steering parts that break or malfunctions causing a possible loss of control;
  • Fuel leaks and wiring flaws that may potentially cause fire;
  • Faulty or defective tires;
  • The failure of a vehicle to meet emissions standards; and
  • Defects with the car’s onboard electronics systems.

What is an Ignition Switch Recall?

In a vehicle, the ignition switch is an important mechanism which controls the power of the vehicle. In some instances, an ignition switch may have a defect or fault which may cause the vehicle to potentially turn off by itself while it is being operated.

This may cause the vehicle to shut down and may even disable the airbags or other important safety functions while the vehicle is still in motion. These situations are linked to many auto accident injuries and deaths.

Because of this, automobiles which are found to have defective ignition switches may be subject to recalls. With a recall, the manufacturer will stop producing them and the vehicles are pulled from sales rooms.

Who can be Held Liable for an Injury Caused by an Ignition Switch Defect?

Injuries which are caused by an ignition switch may be serious and, in some cases, fatal. They may also lead to the filing of a lawsuit.

Liability for the injuries associated with these issues may be traced to different parties, depending on the circumstances. For example, the manufacturer of the vehicle may be held liable under a products liability theory.

If this occurs, the manufacturer may be found liable if the ignition switch is found to have a defect, such as a flaw in the design that makes it more likely to shut off. In other types of cases, an individual may be found liable for an accident if they knowingly drove or continued to operate a vehicle that was subject of an ignition switch recall.

In this case, the individual may be found liable under the theory of negligence, especially if they were aware of the dangers associated with the vehicle and still continued to drive it.

What Happens if My Vehicle is Recalled in Whole or Part?

If a vehicle or party of a vehicle is recalled, a manufacturer is required by federal law to notify all registered purchasers and owners by first class mail. This is done by using state vehicle registration information to locate the owners of the vehicles.

In addition, the manufacturer of the vehicles is required to provide all registered purchasers and owners with a free solution to the issue which is posed by the recall. Possible remedies may include:

  • A new vehicle;
  • Free installation of new parts; or
  • Money as a damages award.

What are the Legal Remedies for an Ignition Switch Recall Lawsuit?

An ignition switch accident lawsuit will usually result in a monetary damages award as the primary form of legal remedy for the party who was injured. These damages may be sufficient to cover various losses associated with the injury, including:

  • Medical costs;
  • Hospital bills;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of the ability to earn wages in the future;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Other associated expenses.

In some instances, an ignition switch recall may trigger a class action lawsuit. This may occur if there were numerous individuals who were injured by the same ignition switch issue in a particular vehicle model.

Are There Time Limitations for Recall Remedies?

Depending on the state, there may be a time limitation on the remedies which are available under a recall, known as the statute of limitations. If a vehicle being recalled is more than 8 years old, the owner may be required to make the repairs themselves.

In addition, the manufacturer or seller of the vehicle may have a defense against an individual’s claim if they did not take action prior to when the statute of limitations expired. Another defense may be that the individual was aware of the defective condition but continued to operate the vehicle anyway.

There are some states which prohibit or limit an individual’s recovery if they contributed in any way to their own injuries. These legal theories are comparative negligence and contributory negligence.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with an Ignition Switch Recall Lawsuit?

An auto defect lawsuit may be very complex and often requires the assistance of a professional. In order to maximize your likelihood of recovery and compensation for your injuries, you may want to consult with a defective products lawyer.

Your lawyer will be able to provide you with legal advice, representation, and guidance for your case.


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