There have been so many vehicle-related recalls lately that the general public has good reason to be nervous about their safety on our roads and highways. For example, most recently, Hyundai recalled over 300,000 of the 2011-2012 Sonata models because, in essence, the cars could not stay parked. Consumers found that the automatic transmission sometimes moves out of “park” and causes the car to drive or roll away.
The New York Times reports that this is the third time since 2009 that Hyundai has recalled vehicles for this specific issue. In 2013, close to 2 million cars were recalled, also for problems related to the brake switches, whereby drivers were unable to shut off cruise control even when using the brakes. The incidence of a vehicle’s brakes malfunctioning is most definitely an unreasonably dangerous defect that can lead to an accident and injuries.
Hyundai is no stranger to class action lawsuits, particularly when it comes to the Sonata model. Specifically, now that Hyundai is aware of the issue, the company should not be making warranty claims difficult for consumers. Claims should not be denied, for example, based on inadequate maintenance. Nor should consumers have to financially cover the transmission issue.
What are My Options?
Many people believe that if there is a recall on their vehicle, they are out of other options. However, depending upon the circumstances, you may have the right to financial compensation and other remedies.
What happens if a defect with someone else’s car leads to an accident with yours? The fact that the other car’s manufacturer recognized an error with their brake system and has issued a recall does not really help you or solve any financial concerns you might have related to injuries from the accident.
If an accident and associated injuries are caused by a vehicle defect, the doctrine of strict liability applies. In other words, if the defect caused your injury, you may have a claim without first having to prove carelessness or negligence. However, if the individual driving the other car with the defect knew about the defect and continued to use the car, the manufacturer may try to assert a defense claiming that the other driver’s negligence contributed to at least a portion of your injuries.
In some instances, car manufacturers have engaged in “cost-benefit” analysis, whereby even if they know a vehicle model has an inherent defect, they release that vehicle into the market anyway if the defect costs more to fix than they would potentially face in litigation. In these instances, courts can sometimes also award punitive damages to those who are injured by the defect, meant to punish companies that knowingly make the decision to place people’s lives at risk.
Solnick & Associates
Solnick & Associates covers major personal injury areas, including car and bus accidents, construction site accidents, premises liability, wrongful death and worker’s compensation for Philadelphia and surrounding areas, including New Jersey. If you have been injured in an auto accident, contact us today for a free consultation.