Defective Vehicle Equipment: 6 Facts to Know
October 24, 2014
In light of the recently issued recall on the defective Takata airbags, we think it’s a good time to go over some important facts regarding defective vehicle equipment. In this three-part blog series, we will discuss some things you may not know regarding defective vehicle equipment, as well as your options if you end up being harmed by such defective equipment.
While the information provided herein is general, you can easily obtain specific info and advice regarding your situation by contacting the trusted Portland product liability attorneys at the Savage Law Firm. With more than three decades of experience representing injured people, we have the experience, knowledge and skills necessary to bring your case to a successful resolution.
Here’s What You Should Know about Defective Vehicle Equipment…
Fact 1 – Auto makers are required to test the safety of vehicle equipment before making it available to the public.
While this fact about defective vehicle equipment may be obvious to some, it’s still important to point out, as it underscores manufacturers’ responsibilities regarding public safety. The fact of the matter is that, prior to installing safety-related equipment in vehicles, auto makers are legally (and ethically) obligated to test the safety, durability and effectiveness of this equipment to ensure that it is not, in fact, defective.
Examples of safety-related equipment in vehicles that should undergo such testing include (but are not limited to):
- Steering components of vehicles
- Accelerator and braking equipment
- Wheels and tires
- Seats, including child safety seats
- Wiring systems
- Fuel systems.
Fact 2 – The NHTSA is responsible for overseeing the recalls of defective vehicle equipment.
Since 1996, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been the authority for developing and enforcing vehicle safety standards. Over this nearly 20-year period, NHTSA officials have overseen the recalls of:
- More than 390 million vehicles (including cars, motorcycles and mopeds, RVs, trucks and buses)
- About 46 million tires
- Approximately 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment
- About 42 million child car seats.
When NHTSA officials receive multiple reports of the same or similar issues with vehicle equipment, regulators will typically investigate the issue to determine whether defective vehicle equipment exists and, in turn, whether a recall should be issued for this equipment. Once officials determine that a recall for defective vehicle equipment should be issued, a complex recall management process will get underway to ensure that:
- Manufacturers respond promptly and appropriately to the recall.
- There is minimal additional harm caused by the defective vehicle equipment.
Fact 3 – When recalls of defective vehicle equipment have been issued, manufacturers must cover the repair costs.
If your vehicle has never been the subject of a recall, then you may not be aware of the fact that, when these recalls for defective vehicle equipment occur, the manufacturer responsible for making the defective equipment will also be responsible for paying for the repair costs associated with fixing this equipment.
Here, it’s also important to point out the facts that:
- People can be reimbursed for the costs of repairing recalled defective vehicle equipment if they end up paying for these fixes out of pocket.
- Vehicle owners who have been harmed by defective vehicle equipment will also have legal recourse for obtaining compensation for their injuries and losses caused by the defective vehicle equipment.
Fact 4 – It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to drag their feet in issuing recalls for defective vehicle equipment.
This may be one of the most tragic and distressing facts about defective vehicle equipment, but it is, nonetheless, true. Unfortunately, in some cases, the manufacturers responsible for putting defective vehicle equipment on the road can be very reluctant to issue recalls for this equipment, increasing the risk to public safety and human lives. This is apparent in two of the biggest recalls that have been issued in 2014:
- The recall for defective Takata airbags – Most recently, the recall of the defective Takata airbags underscore this fact, as recent findings from a New York Times investigation have revealed that both Takata and Honda were aware of the serious problems associated with these airbags and yet neither company made any effort to take decisive action to protect consumers by issuing a recall.
- The recall for the defective GM ignition switches – Similarly, in the massive GM ignition switch recall that occurred earlier this year, various investigations have revealed that GM officials may have known about the problems with this defective vehicle equipment for as long as a decade before responding by issuing a recall.
Such delays in issuing recalls for defective vehicle equipment are a form of negligence that creates an unnecessary risk of injury and death to the public.
Fact 5 – Vehicle owners are encouraged to report defective vehicle equipment to the NHTSA.
In the event that defective vehicle equipment harms people, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) strongly urge these injured people to report the nature of the defective equipment to the NHTSA as soon as possible. A few of the reasons that reporting defective vehicle equipment is so important are that it:
- Allows NHTSA regulators to more precisely gauge the nature of a problem
- Can end up sparking recalls for defective vehicle equipment to be issued earlier, which may end up saving lives.
In fact, the NHTSA has done its best to make it as easy as possible for vehicle owners to report allegedly defective vehicle equipment by offering some easy-to-use online tools that allow people to file and search complaints.
Additionally, the NHTSA has a relatively new app that, when downloaded, can alert vehicle owners immediately after any recall affecting their vehicle has been issued. Staying abreast of the lasted NHTSA recalls for defective vehicle equipment can be critical to protecting yourself and your family.
Fact 6 – If you are harmed by defective vehicle equipment, you can count on the Savage Law Firm to help you obtain the compensation you likely deserve.
Of all of the facts about defective vehicle equipment that we have discussed so far, perhaps the most significant fact to remember is that, after being harmed by such equipment, you can rely on the Portland product liability attorneys at the Savage Law Firm to:
- Stand up to negligent manufacturers on your behalf
- Aggressively assert your rights
- Help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.
The Trusted Portland Product Liability Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm
Have you been hurt by any defective vehicle equipment? If so, don’t hesitate to contact the trusted and experienced Portland product liability lawyers at the Savage Law Firm. Since 1977, our attorneys have been dedicated to providing each of our clients with the highest quality legal services so they have the best chances of obtaining the full amount of the compensation to which they may be entitled.
Helping you recover from the financial setbacks caused by defective and dangerous products is one of our primary goals. We encourage you to learn more about your rights and case by setting up a free initial consult.
To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page.
We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.