As consumers, we make many informed decisions when purchasing a product. With so many purchases under our belts, it is not uncommon to have purchased a product that has been recalled. Vehicles are often recalled, as their inherently dangerous nature makes even the slightest defect dangerous. What happens when an accident and injury occurs after a recall that you have not responded to – who is liable?
In 2017, motor vehicle recalls were reduced to 30.7 million, down from a record 53 million in 2016, due to a large recall of malfunctioning airbags. There are many reasons as to why an individual may not respond to a vehicle recall when it is issued. These include:
- Failure to receive notice in the mail
- Forgetfulness about the notice
- Failure to schedule a repair date for the vehicle
Who Takes the Blame?
In South Carolina, if you fail to repair a vehicle after receiving word of its recall, the dealer or manufacturer will likely attempt to place the blame on the individual who failed to repair the defect. However, a claim for compensation due to an injury sustained from a recalled vehicle hinges upon multiple factors.
Recall Notice’s Delivery Date
If you are found to not have received notice of the recall, there is no way that you could have known to repair it and thus cannot be held responsible for not knowing. However, if you did receive a notice of the recall, the court will look at when you received it. It will take into consideration whether the accident occurred within just a couple of days of the notice and if it would have been unreasonable to have the time get the car fixed. If this is the case and you did not have ample time, it should not prevent you from receiving compensation.
Clarity of Recall Instructions
The court will also look at how clear the instructions of the recall were. Any recall notice sent by the manufacturer must include instructions about what the driver is expected to do. These instructions must confer information about what the driver is to do to resolve the issue. If the notice lacks clear definitive instructions, it may be found that the driver did not have adequate guidance to take the necessary steps. In a situation in which the driver did not receive adequate instructions in the notice, the lack of response may not negate his or her opportunity to recover.
Actions the Vehicle Owner Took in Response to the Recall
Finally, the court will look at the actions that the driver took in response to the recall notice. If they took the steps as indicated in the notice and the accident or injury still occurred, the driver should be entitled to collect compensation. This is the same should the driver have taken the necessary steps to remedy the defect as instructed but was unable to fulfill the instructions through no fault of their own.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Victims of Vehicle Recall Accidents
At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., our Columbia car accident lawyers have experience helping clients obtain the compensation they deserve in cases of product liability. If you or a loved one has been injured due to an auto defect, contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 for a free consultation.
We represent clients across South Carolina, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.