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Know Your Rights: Vehicle Safety Recalls


This year, one of the biggest automobile safety recalls in history was issued. Takata, a manufacturer of airbags that are used by 14 different car companies, issued a recall for their airbags. Takata airbags have been found to be ineffective and have already lead to the deaths of 11 people. The Takata airbag recall impacts 85 million vehicles and may possibly expand to more. To see if your vehicle has been impacted by the Takata airbag recall, go to safercar.gov and search for your car’s vin number. If you are impacted by the Takata recall, or any other major safety recall, it is important you know your rights!

How And When Is An Automotive Recall Issued?

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates the safety of vehicles. If a vehicle does not meet the legal requirements for safety, the NHTSA will force the company to issue a recall. Other times, car manufacturers will find a problem and will directly issue a recall themselves. In both cases, the NHTSA will oversee the recall and ensure the manufacturer is in compliance with the law.

Car manufacturers are required by law to directly inform the car owners of a recall. This notification will come by mail and will detail an explanation of the cause of the recall and instructions on how a car owner can resolve the issue. There should also be contact information so the owner can contact the manufacturer to learn more. If your car has been recalled and the car manufacturer has not directly contacted you, contact the NHTSA and let them know so they can make sure the car manufacturer is following the law.

The Responsibility Of The Vehicle Owner During A Recall

When a vehicle has been recalled, it is up to the manufacturer to repair the issue without cost to the vehicle owner. How a vehicle owner can seek repairs should be included in the recall notification. However there are certain circumstances that can impact the a vehicle owner’s rights during a recall. These include:

  • If a vehicle is over ten years old, it is the vehicle owner’s responsibility to fix the vehicle at their own cost.
  • There is a required time period for recall repairs. Most of the time recalls are repaired by mechanics at the car dealership. If the car dealership refuses to fix the vehicle within that time, the owner should contact the manufacturer. The manufacturer is required by law to resolve the issue and let the vehicle owner know of the progress. During this time, the vehicle owner cannot take legal action.
  • If the manufacturer and the NHTSA disagree on a recall, during the time they are in court, the manufacturer has no obligation to repair the issue.
  • If a car owner has repaired the issue before the recall, they are entitled to a refund for the cost of repairs.

When To Contact A Lawyer

The recall process can be a headache, however vehicle owners have several legal protections. A vehicle owner should contact a lawyer when:

  • A manufacturer has not resolved the recall during the allotted time.
  • If you have repaired or replaced the recall part and the car manufacturer has not refunded you the money.
  • If a recalled part is responsible for any accident, injury, or fatality.
  • If you have been in a recent automobile accident and the recalled part may have been responsible.
  • If your vehicle has been to the mechanic 3 times or out of service for 15 days within the first two years as a result of a recall, as this qualifies for a replacement or refund under Florida lemon laws

The Takata recall impacts thousands of vehicle owners, so it is important that you know your rights during a recall. If you receive a recall notice or have any issues getting the recalled part or vehicle replaced or repaired, contact a lawyer immediately. They will help make sure that you get the compensation you deserve!

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Know Your Rights:  Vehicle Safety Recalls

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh




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