If you own a Toyota, you have probably received more than one recall notice in the last several years. It is likely that you learned about the recalls by means of the media, as these recall notices have been consistently broadcast in print and on television ever since Toyota was sued for accidents associated with uncontrolled acceleration.
Toyota is far from the only auto manufacturer dealing with a high-profile recall. Luxury carmaker BMW was recently in the news for recalling over one hundred thousand sedans to address faulty rear lights. Unlike the Toyota acceleration cases, however, BMW initiated the recall prior to any reported injuries or accidents.
So what happens if you, as a consumer, fail to bring in your car for required maintenance and then experience an accident and injury? Would you have a personal injury cause of action against the auto manufacturer, or would your failure to comply with the recall prevent you from recovering damages?
Although it is always a good idea to perform regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance and adhere to any recall notices, the failure to do so may not entirely bar your ability to recover damages for injuries resulting from a vehicle defect. You should not assume, however, that any injury resulting from a suspected manufacturing flaw would automatically recover full damages. The particular case must still meet the elements of either negligence — i.e., that in the light of evidence, car makers owed a duty to the public and negligently released a vehicle before properly testing for safety– or strict liability for causing your injuries.
Addressing the issue of whether someone would be barred from bringing a claim against someone else due to his or her own negligence is called the plaintiff’s “assumption of the risk” and “contributory negligence.” In the past, both of these legal theories were complete or severely limiting bars to the plaintiff’s ability to recover damages.
For more information on dealing with a personal injury resulting from a car accident, seek the advice and services of an experienced personal injury attorney.