If you own a car that has been recalled, you should get your car repaired as quickly as possible. The longer you keep your car without attending to the recall, the more responsibility for an accident shifts from the manufacturer of the defective part to you. Consider these scenarios:
The manufacturer built the defect into the car and the defect directly caused both accidents, so both Tom and Max can sue for damages. But because Tom and Max behaved so differently after getting notice of the recall, they face different levels of contributory (or comparative) negligence. New Jersey’s comparative negligence law enforces the notion that everyone must behave reasonably for their own safety. If not, they are at least partially to blame when something goes wrong.
Both Tom and Max knew about the defect and chose to drive their cars. A jury might find that Tom was reasonable because he took the earliest possible appointment for repairs and drove sparingly. Still, he might have to bear some responsibility for his losses. On the other hand, a jury could find that Max was unreasonable because he ignored several warnings and even after hearing about a death due to the problem, he was lax in getting his car repaired. Under New Jersey law, if a jury thinks Max is more than 50 percent responsible for his own injury, he can’t recover damages from the manufacturer.
It’s also worth noting that an owner who ignores a recall could be held partially responsible for injuries to other people if the defective part causes an auto accident. The moral of the story is simple: Get your car fixed! But should you be injured in an accident before that can happen, consult an experienced auto accident attorney who understands products liability and comparative fault.
Seigel Law represents victims of defective auto parts and other consumer products in Bergen County and throughout New Jersey. Contact us online or call 201-444-4000 today for a free case evaluation.