What to Know About Vehicle Recalls

Surprisingly, automobiles are recalled on a regular basis in the United States. Sometimes the recall is issued by the company, but most recalls are done by a mandate from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Consumer Protection Agency. It’s important to understand this process as recalls are intended to save lives, and that might include yours and your family’s. For this reason, parts and car manufacturers are held to a strict liability standard.

Proving Negligence on the Part of the Manufacturer

A majority of the time, if the victim of a vehicle accident can prove that an auto manufacturer’s defective part or vehicle was responsible, they may be able to negotiate a settlement. When their personal injury lawyer DC settles the claim on their behalf, they can avoid the stress and cost of taking the defendant to court. However, the victim (plaintiff) must have a strong case to take to the negotiating table. The same is true if they end up in court. Proving negligence depends on meeting certain criteria:


  1. The manufacturer had a duty to provide a reasonable level of care to the victim.
  2. The manufacturer did not provide that care, thereby breaching their duty.
  3. The victim was injured as a result.
  4. The victim’s injury caused them to suffer in a measureable way.

Because vehicle crashes often result in serious injuries or even death, damages can be substantial in these types of claims.


Notification of a Recall

The vehicle or parts manufacturing company can use Department of Motor Vehicle records to determine who owns an affected automobile. In situations where a defective part is installed by several companies on several vehicle models, it can be an extensive recall. Owners are notified by mail and an explanation is provided regarding the defective part and how it can be repaired, including a service location. The owner then makes an appointment to have the vehicle inspected and repaired.


How to Identify Your Vehicle When No Notification is Received

The problem with the recall system is that many vehicle owners do not get notified for a variety of reasons. Very commonly, a vehicle has been owned by several people and they can get “lost” in the system. It is important to remember that older cars may also be recalled if the defective part has been used for an extended period of time. Luckily, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration maintains a recall database posted online at Recalls.gov where vehicle owners can search to see if their car is listed in any defective part recall. A personal injury lawyer DC relies on can also use the list when investigating a car accident for multiple negligent parties such as the car manufacturer and a defective products manufacturer.


An aggressive and thorough attorney can make a major difference when vehicle malfunction is to blame for an accident. If you were involved in an accident caused by a defective vehicle or automotive part, even if you are not aware of any relevant recalls, contact a personal injury attorney and request a no-cost consultation.




Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into vehicle recalls and personal injury practice.


Do I Need An Orange County Personal Injury Attorney?

If you have been seriously injured, you may need an Orange County personal injury attorney.


Have you been seriously injured in an automobile accident, or other serious incident?  If so, you may need an Orange County personal injury attorney to help you get compensation to make you whole for your injuries. Don’t make one of the following mistakes that many people make when they get injured in a car accident.


Mistake #1 – Not Hiring An Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer Because They Cost Too Much


Many people hesitate to get legal help because they don’t want to pay for an Orange County personal injury lawyer, or they don’t think that they can afford it.  Unfortunately, insurance companies often take advantage of individuals that represent themselves without an experienced personal injury attorney on their side.  The good news is, most attorneys accept payment on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you don’t pay any legal fees up front, any you only pay the attorney a percentage of the money that they recover for you.  An experienced Orange County personal injury attorney will be able to fully evaluate your case, and will know a range for what would be considered fair for an insurance company to pay.  Having an OC personal injury lawyer on your side will typically result in a higher level of compensation for you – even after their fees are taken into consideration.  So let an expert OC personal injury attorney deal with the headache of negotiating with insurance companies, so you can take care of yourself and get better.


Mistake #2 – Not Getting Medical Treatment Immediately


Another common mistake that people make after being in car crash or other serious incident is delaying medical treatment.  Common injuries from car crashes include whiplash, and other soft tissue injuries.  These types of injuries often times get worse over the days following the accident.  Even if you think you are “okay” it is a good idea to be fully evaluated by a medical professional immediately after an accident.  If injuries to become worse, you will have a full medical record of treatment.  When insurance companies see a “gap” in treatment, they may try to deny some or all of your claimed medical expenses.  An Orange County personal injury attorney can help you deal with insurance companies that are being difficult, but it always helps if you don’t have any gaps in your medical treatment.


Mistake #3 – Making Statements To The Insurance Companies About Fault


If you were injured in an automobile accident and were not at fault, the other driver’s insurance will be responsible to pay for your injuries and property damage – up to the limits of the other driver’s insurance policy.  The insurance company will typically reach out to you immediately and try to get a statement from you regarding the accident.  It is best not to make any statements directly to the insurance company, and to let an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney talk to them on your behalf.  However if you do talk with them, do not admit fault, or make statements that might create ambiguity as to who was at fault.  Any statement that you make to them can be used to deny coverage to you, or apportion fault to you which will significantly reduce your compensation.


No one plans on getting in an accident, but if it does happen to you, don’t go at it alone.  Chudleigh Law P.C. is based in Laguna Beach, CA and is an experienced Orange County Personal Injury Attorney that serves clients throughout southern California.   


Orange County Estate Planning Attorney, Living Trust, Revocable Trust, Trusts
An orange county estate planning attorney can help make a revocable trust part of your estate plan

A revocable trust (commonly called a living trust) is a part of an estate plan that helps minimize estate taxes and probate expenses.
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a trustee (yourself or a third party) to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. There are several different types of trusts that can be tailored to your specific estate planning needs to determine when and how the assets pass to the beneficiary.

A major benefit to having a trust is that it will usually allow you to avoid probate, which allows beneficiaries to gain access to the assets more quickly than if the assets were transferred using a will. That’s right, even if you have a will, the estate will still go to probate court to be distributed to the beneficiaries. Probate court in California can take over a year to distribute assets, and statutory mandated fees average about 4% of the full market value of your assets and move down on a sliding scale as assets increase. For example, if your home is worth $900,000 (and you still owe $700,000 on it), and you have $600,000 in financial assets, the court will assess your assets on the full $1,500,000 and probate fees are estimated to be $28,000! That is a hefty price to pay for not planning ahead. Further, the court can approve additional compensation to be paid to the personal representative’s attorneys. In short, probate is expensive, very expensive. Investing into a well thought out estate plan now can save your estate tens of thousands of dollars.

In addition to revocable trusts, if you set up an irrevocable trust (often this is done for life insurance policies and called an ILIT for short, or an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust), the trust may not be included in your taxable estate, so fewer estate taxes will be due upon your death. This is another estate planning strategy worth discussing with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Chudleigh Law P.C. helps a wide range of clients throughout Orange County, California to plan for the future with an estate plan that is tailored to their specific needs.