The U.S. NHTSA is the government agency charged with ensuring vehicle safety and investigating complaints regarding vehicle safety defects. Our Pearland vehicle defect lawyers note that the NHTSA does not concern itself with defects that don’t relate to safety. The agency will not order a recall for cosmetic defects or other non-safety related problems.
The NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation uses a four-step investigative process to determine if an inherent defect exists in a specific type of vehicle.
Screening. The NHTSA conducts a preliminary review of customer complaints and other data concerning possible defects that has come to its attention. Based on this preliminary review, the agency decides whether or not it should open a formal investigation regarding the possible defect.
Petition Analysis. The U.S. NHTSA analyzes petitions it’s received that ask for defect investigation of the particular vehicle. It will also review data on previous recalls to determine if sufficient numbers of incidents indicate a problem relating to the alleged defect.
Investigation. The NHTSA will conduct a thorough investigation regarding the alleged defect if its prior review and analysis has indicated that the data warrants such a process. The investigation regarding possible safety defects occurs in two stages: the Preliminary Evaluation and the Engineering Analysis. If the investigation confirms the existence of the defect, the U.S. NHTSA will order the vehicle manufacturer to initiate a recall.
Recall Management. The NHTSA collects data and follows the results of previous recalls to assess how effective the safety recall process is in identifying and preventing problems.
After the NHTSA orders a vehicle recall for a safety defect, the manufacturer has three legal options for making good on the order. The manufacturer can:
Repair the vehicle free of charge (this is the usual remedy you see offered for a vehicle defect);
Replace the vehicle with an identical or similar vehicle that is free of the defect; or
Refund the purchase price in full minus a reasonable allowance for vehicle depreciation.
But the manufacturer’s legally-mandated remedy for the vehicle safety defect in no way prevents you from seeking other legal remedies for any injuries you might have already suffered because of the safety defect. If you’ve suffered injuries or lost a loved one from a vehicle safety defect, we could help. Our experienced Pearland vehicle defect lawyers have been helping injured victims of defective vehicles to obtain just financial compensation from manufacturers for more than 12 years. We could help you too. Contact our dedicated attorneys for a free and confidential consultation at 877-307-9500.