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Auto Recall Lawsuits- An Overview

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Stan Yakoff6 years ago

Automotive recalls occur when a vehicle or vehicle part is deemed unsafe and is pulled from the market by the manufacturer (voluntary recall) or by the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (mandatory recall). Auto recalls may stem from a manufacturing mistake, a manufacturer’s failure to warn of potential dangers, or a design defect that made the vehicle or part unsafe to begin with. 

Manufacturing Defects

Claims of this type involve vehicles or parts of vehicles that have been improperly manufactured in some way. This may be the result of an error at the manufacturing facility where the vehicle was designed, or a problem that occurs during distribution, shipping, or at the dealership or supply center. 

An example of a manufacturing defect product liability would be a case where a tire manufacturer deviates from standard operating procedure by using a cheaper and less effective tire material during tire production in the manufacturing plant, resulting in the components of the tire separating and falling off while being used. 

Design Defects

This type of claim involves vehicles or parts of vehicles which, even though they may be properly manufactured, have an unreasonably dangerous design that may result in injury or other damages. Sometimes these cases involve vehicles or parts of vehicles that have been on the market for some time before it is discovered that they are hazardous. 

An example of a design defect would be a case where the fuel tank is located near an area of the vehicle’s body that is fragile and susceptible to being broken. Think 1970s highly controversial Ford Pinto design; if the car was rear-ended at a speed greater than 25 miles per hour, the car was very likely to burst into flames and explode. 

“Failure to Warn” Defects

This is a claim in which it is alleged that a product is dangerous because it does not contain warnings, instructions, or labels that inform the user in regard to the dangers or proper uses of the product. 

An example would be where a manufacturer knows about problems with a particular vehicle condition, but does not advise consumers or the public of those dangers with the product through labels or instructions. The 1970s Ford Pinto case is also a good example of this.  

Examples of Auto Product Liability Cases

  • Tire tread separation cases
  • Seat belt or occupant restraint system failure cases
  • Seat back failure cases
  • Rollover cases
  • Roof crush cases
  • Fuel-fed fire cases
  • Door latch failures
  • Crashworthiness cases
  • Air bag cases
  • Defective wiring connector cases
  • Window glazing cases
Who is to Blame for a Defective Automobile or Auto Part?
  • The Manufacturer – This is the most likely party most likely liable because they actually made the vehicle in question.
  • Parts Manufacturer – If the case is a product liability claim and involves a defective part, such as a tire, the manufacturer of the part may be a separate company from the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Car Dealership or Automotive Supply Shop – Whoever sold the vehicle or the specific defective part may be liable for damages or injuries suffered even if you were not the actual buyer. 
  • Middleman or Shipper – Any company, including the shipper or other middlemen, that was part of the chain of distribution between the manufacturer of the defective vehicle or part and the dealership or other retailer where it was sold may be liable for damages or injuries.
  • Used Car Dealer – Even if the vehicle involved in the case was bought used, the dealer who sold it may be liable in certain cases. 
Contact an Experienced Auto Recall Attorney

Thomas J. Henry are leaders in the area of product liability litigation. Our Defective Drug and Products Division has extensive knowledge and resources in order to represent our clients efficiently and aggressively. We represent a multitude of people who are battling against manufacturers of defective vehicles and auto parts.

Your choice does matter. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries because of a recalled vehicle or defective auto part, call Thomas J. Henry immediately. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.


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