Hyundai Recall: What should you do if your vehicle has been recalled?

This article came across my desk last month and I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject. For a little background here’s a portion of the article:

“It looks like the Hyundai Sonata is officially taking its place near the top of the midsize car category. We already told you how it has moved into third place in the sales race, and now it moves up the charts again… but on a much less desirable list. Hyundai has issued a recall of 139,500 Sonatas over steering issues.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report at identifies the issue says “the steering column intermediate shaft universal joint connections may have been either improperly assembled or insufficiently tightened.” The consequence could be “a complete separation or compromised attachment of the connections, such that the driver could experience a loss of, or reduction in, steering capability increasing the risk of a crash.”

To read the rest of the article, please click here.

As I was considering the impact of the recall I started to put my thoughts together. There are basically two ways in which product recalls occur, each of which usually involves customer complaints about the design or functionality of the product. As for automobile recalls, many customer complaints about incidents involving the malfunction of the vehicle are reported to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). NHTSA, a federal government entity, has a website in which consumers can lodge complaints about vehicles that have exhibited a particular malfunction such as sudden acceleration, loss of power, failed brakes, or rollovers. NHTSA will investigate complaints by contacting the consumer and the manufacturer or its suppliers, and then it makes a determination whether to recall a product and whether to order a particular fix or total recall of products which cannot be made safe. If it orders the manufacturer to recall a vehicle, the manufacturer must send a notice of recall to each person to whom the product was sold when new. A publication order can also be made in order to make the general public aware of defects. In this way, second hand buyers can request remedy of the problem.

Another manner of recall is the voluntary recall by the manufacturer. In this situation, the manufacturer is faced with two issues. It may want to get out in front of a NHTSA investigation to show that it recognizes the problem and is taking care of it without federal intervention. This can help the company avoid adverse consequences that go along with NHTSA enforcement actions. It also gives the company a better public relations posture in demonstrating its awareness and willingness to make voluntary fixes available. The company will send notices to consumers and advertise the recalls.

In addition, to recalls, which may not occur even if your car has repeated trouble, states have enacted “lemon laws” which give consumers rights to return defective cars for new ones or sue for damages where the seller refuses to accommodate the buyer.  If you’ve been injured in any type of accident, regardless of whether or not it involved a vehicle under a recall, contact us today to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation. With offices located throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California we can serve you no matter where you are located.

Tom Petersen, Oregon Personal Injury Attorney, earned his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in 1981. While there, he earned awards for outstanding study in the areas of Forensic Science and Federal Courts. He has appeared before the California Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, and Federal District Courts of California and Oregon. As a district attorney, public defender and private attorney, Tom has tried hundreds of cases and specializes in the practice of personal injury law, sexual abuse/harassment and civil rights violations. He can be reached at 541-772-9850.