Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia are grappling with one of the largest recalls ever involving 1.9 million vehicles sold in the United States.
In a separate recall, Japanese automaker Subaru is recalling 200,000 vehicles for brake line cracks, NBC News reports.
Vehicle recalls and defects can lead to serious accidents and injuries. Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru could potentially face legal liability for any injuries that may have resulted from the taillight, electronic control or airbag defects.
Car Defect Liability
Under the doctrine of strict liability, no matter what steps Hyundai, Kia and Subaru took in designing, assembling, or handling their cars, they could be liable to an injured driver if the following conditions are met:
- The car or one of its components had an "unreasonably dangerous" defect that injured you. In Hyundai's case, customers have experienced serious lacerations to their ears during crashes, due to the installation of a special auto-dimming mirror.
- The defect caused an injury while the car was being used in its intended manner. For drivers injured by the defects, this condition will depend on the facts of each injured driver's case.
- The car's performance is close to its original condition. For example, customers who sustained injuries from recalled Subaru models manufactured between 2003 and 2007 might face some difficulty in meeting this condition.
Before the lawsuits start rolling in, Kia, Hyundai, and Subaru's major concern will be to notify affected owners. Manufacturers are legally obligated to give notice of the recalls to affected customers. Each notification must contain the following information:
- A description of the defect,
- The risk or hazard posed by the problem,
- A brief description of the free remedy, and
- A description of what the owner can do if she is unable to have the problem corrected within a reasonable time and without charge.
Remedying the Defect
Once a defect determination is made, the law gives the manufacturer three options for remedying the defect: repair, replace, or refund. All three manufacturers in the recall are promptly notifying customers affected by the massive recalls and plan to repair the affected vehicles at no charge, NBC News reports.