In recent years, few Americans could have missed such automobile defectnews as the notorious Toyota runaway acceleration problem. However, consumers’ options when they suspect defective auto parts or faulty systems in their own vehicles are less well understood. But a few basic strategies can help a car owner seek answers from manufacturers and report deficiencies that could have widespread safety implications.
One good starting point is the National Highway Transportation Safety Association’s safercar.gov website. NHTSA maintains this site as a resource for consumers to learn about reported safety and performance complaints and to report vehicle and child car seat defects. Online visitors can quickly learn if their vehicle is subject to a safety recall and sign up for automatic safety alerts.
Of course, any vehicle owner who suspects an unsafe condition should immediately report the problem to a dealership for diagnosis and service. In the best-case scenario, a qualified technician will quickly assess the vehicle and provide a solution. But skepticism may arise if the suspected problem is not immediately apparent, and customers should be prepared to hold their ground and demand a thorough inspection.
In some cases, a consumer can be frustrated at every turn when trying to get service technicians and government bureaucrats to recognize a dangerous problem. When a faulty condition like an electrical short, stalling, safety equipment failure, brake failure or tire blowout leads to a motor vehicle accident and serious personal injury, it is time to explore your legal options.
In the aftermath of any car, truck or motorcycle accident, injury victims and wrongful death survivors must consider the full range of potentially liable parties. While another driver’s negligence may seem like the obvious cause, a personal injury attorney will closely scrutinize the evidence to determine if a faulty automobile airbag or seat belt defect made a tragic event even worse.
Automobile manufacturers often push back hard when a pattern of accidents brings unfavorable publicity to their products. Their influence over the federal review process is one reason why recalls often come far too late for injury victims and families of wrongful death victims. When a defective vehicle results in the death of a child or a catastrophic injury, a dedicated defective products lawyer can be a plaintiff’s best hope for justice.
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