Can You Catch a Vehicle Defect Before It Causes an Accident?

By Peter DePaolis

How To Catch Motor Vehicle Defects Before An Accident


When people purchase new or used vehicles, car recalls or auto accidents are likely the furthest things on their minds. However, some of the world’s largest car manufacturers have issued record-breaking auto recalls in recent years—causing more people to take notice.

Our defective car lawyers see the devastating aftermath of safety malfunctions on vehicles every day. Faulty auto parts can cause a life-changing or fatal car accident in a split second, and a family’s future may never be the same. Just as people should keep up with their car insurance, it is important for consumers to remain up to date regarding any car defects affecting their vehicles, tires or child safety seats. The small amount of effort in doing so is well worth potentially avoiding a catastrophic car accident in the future.

How to Find Out If Your Car Has Been Recalled

Car manufacturers attempt to contact owners when a car make and model is recalled. However, the manufacturer will likely only have your contact information if you recently purchased a brand new car from a dealer.

If you have an older car or purchased a used car from a private seller or dealer not affiliated with the manufacturer, there are other options. The best thing to do is to enter your car and information onto the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Recall Notification. This agency will email you if and when your car, child seat or tires have a listed recall.

Another means to find out if your car has been recalled is to search the make and model on the NHTSA’s website. You can even search your car’s VIN number to see if any issues regarding your specific vehicle arose in the past. The NHTSA offers data and recommendations about car, tire and child seat safety, which can be a great resource for consumers to make informed purchases.

What to Do If Your Car is Part of a Recall

If your car has been part of a safety recall, the manufacturer should fix the problem or replace the vehicle for free. Follow any instructions on the recall notice or in the recall email. You will likely have to take the car into one of the manufacturer’s dealerships. If the auto dealership refuses to fix the car for free after a recall, you can file a complaint on the NHTSA’s website.

A Recall is Not Necessary for a Vehicle Defect Lawsuit

Unfortunately, a number of people are likely to experience car accidents before the manufacturer or government agency issues a safety recall of the defective auto part or vehicle defect.

If you or someone in your family has been in an accident due to a defective car part, whether it has been the subject of an auto recall does not matter. If you were injured due to a defective auto part, you may have a case for a personal injury or product liability lawsuit.

Our auto defect attorneys work throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.. We offer free case reviews to investigate whether a defective car part was responsible for an accident. Reach out to a car defect lawyer by calling our personal injury law firm directly or filling out our online form to have someone from our office get back to you shortly.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.