Sacramento Auto Product Recall Lawyers

How Safety Recalls for Vehicles & Motorcycles Work

Safety recalls occur when a vehicle manufacturer knows or suspects that an element of a vehicle poses a safety threat to occupants. In the recent past, Toyota has been in the news because of its extensive recalls. Sometimes, a safety hazard may affect only one make, model or year of vehicle. In other cases, the cause of the problem may be widespread across all or many of the maker's vehicles.

Regardless of the reach of the potential hazard, owners are entitled to notice that the defect exists and an opportunity to have the hazard fixed for free. This process is what is known as a recall. It is useful to know how the recall process works, what your options are in a recall and how to discover if your vehicle is subject to a recall. You may want the assistance of an experienced lawyer if the vehicle or motorcycle manufacturer fails to meet its obligations under the recall.

Contact Piering Law Firm in Sacramento by email or call (916) 476-2399.

How a Recall Is Initiated

A recall typically starts in one of a few different ways. Sometimes, the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovers the safety defect. Sometimes, the safety defect is initially discovered by vehicle owners who make complaints that initiate action. However it begins, once the manufacturer or NHTSA knows of a safety defect in a vehicle or motorcycle, the vehicle maker is required to provide notice and the opportunity for a remedy — often a free repair of the defect — to vehicle owners.

Federal law regulates safety recalls. A safety defect is generally defined as a problem within a group of cars or other vehicles of the same design (or equipment of the same type and manufacture) that pose a safety risk. There can be recalls for issues other than safety. Those are not covered under federal law or subject to recall. They may, however, be worth speaking about to an attorney because they could form the basis for a product liability claim or suit.

Safety Recall Procedures

Whether the manufacturer initiates the recall or the NHTSA orders it, the vehicle manufacturer is required by federal law to take certain steps, including making contact with the owners of the vehicles affected by the recall. The required steps include filing a public report and searching for affected vehicle owners and sending a letter notifying them of the safety recall.

The public report of the safety recall must identify the vehicle or equipment that the recall involves. The report must also contain a detailed description of the defect and its potential risk, a summary of the events that led to the recall, the remedy being provided to affected vehicle owners and the timeline for the recall.

Learn If a Recall Affects You

Even without receiving an official notification letter, a vehicle owner may have reason to believe his or her vehicle is subject to a recall. The NHTSA keeps records of all vehicle safety recalls, and you can learn if your car has been recalled by contacting it. The NHTSA will have records of expired, current and ongoing safety recalls.

The NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigations is available by telephone at 916-596-2761. You can also visit the website for a list of recalled vehicle and equipment at Also on this page is information about ongoing investigations and the results of completed investigations.

Call the firm today at (916) 476-2399 to speak to an attorney about your case.

Settlements & Verdicts

Piering Law Firm Has Achieved Notable Results in a Wide Range of Cases
  • $5,000,000 Wrongful Death

    A wrongful death judgment secured for a child who lost his mother as a result of domestic violence.

  • $4,893,830 Wrongful Death

    Complex wrongful death motorcycle accident involving product liability claims against both helmet and motorcycle luggage manufacturers.

  • $3,609,600 Knee Amputation

    Motorcycle vs. automobile collision resulting in below knee amputation. Client was riding motorcycle and defendant pulled out in front of him, resulting in a severe injury to client's leg, which ultimately led to the amputation of his leg, just below the knee.

  • $2,500,000 Serious Injuires

    Case involving serious injuries to a motorcycle rider who was involved in an accident with a shuttle bus on the freeway in San Francisco.

  • $2,000,000 Wrongful Death

    A settlement in a wrongful death action as a result of a crash that took the life of a motorcyclist.

  • $2,000,000 Against Bar/Security Company

    34-year-old software sales associate out with friends drinking at a bar in San Francisco. After a few hours, he leaves the bar to go home and gets in an argument outside of the club with a security guard.

  • $2,000,000 Trucking Accident

    Recovery for the victim of a rear-end traffic collision with a big rig that resulted in a neck injury.

  • $1,700,000 Trucking Accident

    Verdict received after trial for the victim of a rear-end traffic collision involving a commercial trucking company.

  • $1,300,000 Head-On Collision

    A policy limit settlement involving a head-on collision on a notoriously dangerous stretch of highway between State Highway 99 in Sacramento and Marysville, commonly known as "blood alley".

  • $1,250,000 Pedestrian Wrongful Death

    The defendant's primary limits of $250,000 were tendered in response to a conditional limit demand that required disclosure of all other coverages. The defendant had an excess policy of $1,000,000.00 which was tendered along with the primary limits.


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