As a car accident attorney, I pay attention to what is happening with the auto manufacturers. While most accidents are caused by a driver that is distracted, speeding, drunk, or tired, there are times where accidents occur and it is not the fault of a driver at all. In these situations, there is often something that is wrong with the actual vehicle due to a safety problem with how it was manufactured. Few people realize how common this can be, especially since car companies do not advertise when they are having an issue but send discreet recall notices instead. The problem is that when a vehicle is not manufactured properly, major accidents can happen as a result. This is because drivers expect to be safe in their car, for it to respond like it should and for it to function properly. They are often unprepared for the reality of it not doing so.
In July, the Department of Transportation announced that Fiat Chrysler admitted to violating provisions of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (you can read their official announcement HERE). They did so by failing to recall vehicles in a timely and effective manner and not notifying owners, dealers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration right away. These violations applied to 23 recalls and 11 million vehicles.
What does this mean for you?
As a car accident attorney, I want to encourage you to call your local dealer if you drive a vehicle that was manufactured by Fiat Chrysler – especially a Jeep. Some Jeeps have been catching on fire so it is important to find out whether your make and model was impacted by these safety recalls and, if so, get the necessary repairs completed quickly. The settlement reached between NHTSA and Fiat Chrysler includes a provision that some owners will be able to sell back their vehicles if they want to. This gives you options but, at the very least, you want to find out if your vehicle is unsafe and schedule the necessary repairs.
The car company was also hit with a $105 million civil penalty, the largest ever imposed by the NHTSA; and they are required to have extensive monitoring for the next three years to ensure that the problems are resolved. From the perspective of a car accident attorney, these safety issues raise a variety of questions. If you own a car or were hit by one that falls under these safety issues, the accident may not have been the fault of the driver but of the vehicle itself. When filing a civil case it is important to name the parties that you are suing. If the car company is to blame, this needs to be taken into consideration right away. There is no way to determine liability without investigating your case. Therefore, if you have been in an accident with a newer vehicle manufactured by Fiat Chrysler, I encourage you to call my office and schedule a consultation. I can ask questions and investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident to ensure that the right party is gone after for legal damages.