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Vehicle recalls skyrocket, products liability claims might follow

Consumers tend to gravitate toward vehicles with the newest and best safety features. With the assurance of airbags and backup cameras, most drivers assume that they will be largely protected on the road. Reality involves a much different picture -- a significant number of recalled vehicles are still on the road, and their owners have no idea. For some owners, these defects ultimately lead to products liability claims.

Most California drivers have likely already noticed the ever increasing number of vehicle recalls over safety concerns. Recent recalls have addressed everything from shrapnel-spewing airbags to leaking gas tanks. Certain vehicles were even discovered to be prone to corrosion after already hitting the roadways, an issue that was only realized once bumpers began to fall off and into traffic. 

Current estimates put one out of every six vehicles as defective or in need of recall-related repairs. Many drivers are simply unaware that their vehicles were affected by a recall, especially for older cars. Until 2013, automakers were not required to keep accurate records for owner compliance rates regarding recalls. Additionally, automakers currently issue recall notices through the mail, but this is not necessarily the most effective way to contact owners. Phone calls and emails are being explored as alternative methods.

Vehicle recalls are currently growing at record high rates, putting millions of drivers at risk while behind the wheels of their cars. Automakers have a responsibility to California drivers to provide reasonably safe vehicles, and to address inherent defects in a timely manner. As repair rates for defective vehicles continues to slow down, victims who have been injured by defective vehicles can collect necessary compensation for their damages through the successful actions of products liability suits.

Source: NBC News, "1 in 6 Cars on the Road is Recalled but Not Fixed," Paul A. Eisenstein, July 27, 2016

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