Just three years ago, Toyota recalled 12.4 million cars globally – including 10.2 million in the U.S. – for sticky gas pedals and floor mats that could jam accelerators. Those recalls came following numerous complaints and crashes, and even some fatal accidents.
Just over a month ago, in October 2012, Toyota announced another recall of 7.4 million cars (more than a third of them in the U.S.), this time for incorrectly lubricated power-window switches that could spontaneously erupt in flame.
November saw yet another Toyota recall that affected an additional 670,000 American cars. Considering the recent string of recalls, there is also likely to be large numbers of motorists injured because of vehicles defects.
Vehicle Defects Bring New Twist To Car Accident Legal Cases
The latest Toyota recall has to do with potentially defective steering. According to Brian Lyons, Toyota's spokesman for safety issues in the U.S., the steering problem "is a design-related issue – insufficient hardness on the specification."
Whenever a safety recall is issued that affects your vehicle, it is obviously advisable to get the defect corrected as soon as possible (the manufacturer may repair, replace or provide a refund for the defective vehicle). First and foremost, getting an auto defect corrected immediately is a matter of safety. It could also affect your ability to obtain compensation if a vehicle defect causes you injury; if you knew about a recall and failed to bring your vehicle in, you may forfeit your right to collect monetary damages related to the problem.
However, many vehicle safety defects – maybe even most vehicle safety defects – are neither detected nor subject to a recall before they cause injury. When you become the victim of such a defect, you are entitled to compensation from the automaker or vehicle component manufacturer.
Unlike a typical personal injury claim for negligence after a car accident, you do not have to show that an automaker was careless in order to collect compensation in a product liability lawsuit over a vehicle defect. Rather, the maker of the vehicle is strictly liable for injuries caused by the defect so long as the vehicle or one of its components had an "unreasonably dangerous" defect, the defect caused injury while the vehicle was being used as intended and the vehicle had not been changed substantially from the condition in which it was originally sold.
Talk To A Lawyer To Learn More About Your Right To Compensation
If you are driving one of the recently recalled Toyotas, it is important to get the steering problem fixed as soon as possible. But, if you have already been injured by an auto defect, or if a family member has been killed, it is far too late to get the problem corrected.
Although it is an imperfect solution for a serious injury or the loss of a loved one, the manufacturer of an unsafe vehicle should provide monetary compensation that can help get you through a tough time. If you suspect that you may have been the victim of an auto defect, get in touch with a personal injury law office today to explore your legal options.