Search Site
Menu
How Does an Auto Recall Affect My Right to Sue?

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:

  • Tom Driver gets a recall notice from his manufacturer, alerting him that his electronic gearshift might slip from park into another gear without warning. He calls his dealer and takes the next available appointment, five days out, to get the car fixed. For the next three days, he drives his car sparingly, makes an extra visual check of the gearshift and applies his emergency brake when parking. On the fourth day, he is warming up his car in the driveway when he notices he left his phone inside the house. Without thinking, he shifts into park, shuts off the engine and gets out of his car. As the car rolls down the driveway, Tom tries to reach into the driver’s side and set the emergency brake. He’s knocked down, and one of the tires rolls over his foot, crushing it.
  • Max Motorist has the same make and model of car, and gets the same manufacturer’s recall notice. Max ignores that notice, as well as the one he gets from the dealer a week later. After several weeks of driving his car, Max comes across a story of a driver who was crushed and killed when the same make and model of car slipped out of gear and rolled forward, pinning him against a garage. Max calls his dealer to make an appointment, but instead of booking a spot for the next day, he chooses a more convenient date three weeks in the future. Two weeks later, Max pulls into his driveway, puts his car in neutral and gets out to retrieve the mail. As his car goes into reverse, Max tries to stop it and, like Tom, is seriously injured.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS
  • $7,900,000

    Recovery on behalf of the 16-year-old girl injured by electrical malfunction

  • $8,000,000

    Jury verdict in a catastrophic injury case

  • $1,100,000

    Settlement for a fractured arm in Passaic County

  • $4,775,000

    Settlement for a woman in Bergen County injured in a trucking accident

Meet Our Attorneys


  • (61 Reviews)

    By Teresa R Perez - January, 2018

    I have had a great experience thus far. The personal injury process is stressful and they have been helpful and courteous in getting me the right referrals. I was injured while visiting NJ and live in another state, my case is not an easy one but they are working diligently to help. I appreciate the personalized attention and highly recommend this firm.

    Read More

  • (61 Reviews)

    By Miriam Smith-Leone - December, 2017

    The law office was great with my back and neck injury. They directed me to the right doctors and got me a huge settlement. Being a single mom, it help pay off all my debt and bills. Me and my kids can have a bill free christmas, with plenty of food and happiness, stress free. They are the best ever and I would highly recommend them to anyone rich or poor, who has been in an accident and need legal help...

    Read More

  • (61 Reviews)

    By L C - October, 2017

    After the misfortune of suffering an injury, I had the good fortune to choose Seigel Law to represent me. During my initial meeting with Jan Seigel, I found him to be extremely confident and reassuring---he totally put me at ease. I was represented by Mark Mc Bratney---an EXCELLENT attorney. He was supportive and professional through the entire process, and provided an excellent outcome for my case.

    Read More

  • (61 Reviews)

    By Liliana Paredes - October, 2017

    Honest, trustworthy and very straight forward. In unvarnished truth Jonas Siegel will tell you exactly where you stand and what direction you should go. Jonas has tenacity coupled with a degree of tenderness, but never losing site of the end goal, which is to protect, defend and have the best outcome for his clients. I defenetly recoment this law firm. Thanks for helping me out in my case.

    Read More

  • (61 Reviews)

    By Oren Goldshmidt - September, 2017

    I'd like to thank everyone at segal law for the amazing experience they provided me. From the moment I stepped in to the end of the case , segal and his team delivered exactly what they promised. I couldn't have received any better treatment from a law firm. Any concerns, questions or problems I had were addressed and dealt with accordingly...

    Read More

What we offer our clients


Knowledge

Personal injury and medical knowledge

Our knowledgeable team of personal injury lawyers includes a medical doctor who advises on complex medical topics

chat2

One-on-one attorney attention

By maintaining a limited number of cases, our attorneys can provide personalized attention to each client we serve

idea2

Results-oriented strategies

Our lawyers have won numerous high verdicts and settlements, many in the high six- and seven-figure range, for our injured clients

Trial_Experience

Trial experience

Every trial attorney in our firm is a certified trial attorney by the New Jersey Supreme Court

Communication

Communication as a priority

We understand how important communication is to a successful attorney-client relationship, we return calls within 24 hours

Community

Community involvement

Our lawyers and staff are active in community outreach and community service programs

Testimonials
  • "The lawyers at Seigel Law know how to get you the results you want. Jan Seigel and His team returned every one of my phone calls, listened to me and worked with me to a desirable outcome. Seigel Law definitely goes above and beyond to protect the injured." - B.M.

  • "After my car accident, my life turned into a disaster. Dealing with everything became impossible. Jan Seigel and his people helped me with every aspect of my injuries and the insurance companies so I could focus on healing. They helped me through everything and they got me what I was due." - M.P.

  • "I found the personnel to be very efficient, and work very quickly. I'm happy that I was referred to this firm, because I found that I was very comfortable working with them." - F.V.

  • "Amazing. I have to say they were very supportive and were able to give me tons of information. I didn't feel rushed and felt they truly cared about my well-being. Their website is also extremely helpful and well setup." - T.D.

Contact us

Quick Contact Form