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Unrepaired Recalls

With a slew of motor vehicle recalls, often times that leads the public to become numb to the issues at hand. NHTSA estimates that only about 70 percent of vehicles that are recalled ever get the necessary repairs. Major automobile companies such as Volkswagen and General Motors are held under much scrutiny when it is found that not only have their products failed the consumer but also, these companies knew about said problems before putting them into the market. Their actions have harsh consequences, such as bruised reputation, major compensation to consumers and other legal woes that hinder their power in the industry. Nevertheless, once a recall is issued and sent either in the mail or posted online, it is up to the duty of the public to get the repairs needed to make sure they are driving a safe car. If not, tragic stories like the one involving a 43-year-old woman from Highland Ranch in Colorado will happen more frequently [1].

Colorado Women Found after Six Days

Kristin M. Hopkins was injured and badly dehydrated when she was found in her overturned car after she went down an 80-foot embankment. She was trapped inside her car for six days after losing control and rolling down the mountainside from a turn on Red Hill Pass which is said to have steep and slushy conditions. While she was stuck in her car, she had no food or drink for that entire time and endured temperatures well below freezing. She managed to scrawl help messages on a red and white umbrella which she stuck out the window of her Malibu and eventually led motorists to find her in her car. Due to her injuries and the freezing temperatures, Hopkins had to get both legs amputated and complete a stay of two months in the hospital. While some mention her speed to be a factor– although it is maintained within the speed limit of the road– her 2009 Chevy Malibu was supposed to have electric stability control and electric power steering that would have helped to avoid possible crashes.

It was only after the crash, about 8 years later, that she received word about the GM recall. This piece of mail cruelly notified her that she should take her Malibu in for repaired as its safety systems may not work if she finds herself in a crash situation [3]. For this reason, Hopkins has decided to sue GM for their negligence in knowing of the issue and letting consumers, such as herself, drive the defective product. While she was learning to walk on prosthetic limbs at a Denver-area rehabilitation center, the lawsuit alleges that GM sent Hopkins a recall notice tell her the car’s safety system was defective [2]. Had she known of the issues associated with her car, there’s a likely possibility that this could have been prevented.

Effective Recalls

But as I’ve stated earlier, a recall notice is only effective if the owners bring in their cars to prevent any future incidents. While Kristin Hopkins could have possibly brought in her car before her accident, if she knew of the recall beforehand, the reality is, many owners drive their cars unrepaired. As a matter of fact, as of December 2011, General Motors’ completion rate for repaired under the two recalls it sent out was 52.5 percent. This means that at best, 300,000 out of every 1 million GM vehicles recalled do not get the appropriate repair. The negligence of the drivers can lead to accidents that cause damages to more people than just themselves. It is imperative that once a driver knows of a recall that they must take it in to get the necessary repair. Consumers should take a few minutes periodically to check if there are any outstanding recalls on the vehicles they own.

How to Find Out

In most car recalls, not every vehicle that fits into the model and model-year designations is subject to the recall. There usually also are production date boundaries. For example, not every 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix with a 3.8-liter V6 is covered by the GM recall [4].

Every car has a unique vehicle identification number (VIN) which is how manufacturers and NHTSA tracks cars and trucks subject to a recall. This number is listed on the vehicle registration papers and is also stamped in various places on every car and truck. Once the number is known, there are numerous ways to track down general recall information:

  • NHTSA– has a system that enables consumers to use the agency’s gov website to run VIN checks for recalls. It links to the vehicle manufacturers’ own records and presents that information to consumers on the Safercar.gov site. The site also allows consumers to register their cars so they can receive notices of future recalls that affect them. A consumer can also sign up for future recall alerts involving tired and child car seats.
  • edmunds.com – is a site that provides a recall look-up service as part of its car maintenance guide. This guide will check by make, model and year for recalls and technical service bulletins. These bulletins are often called “secret warranties” and are sometimes used by manufacturers to tell dealership service departments to make repairs that aren’t serious enough to warrant a recall.
  • Individual automakers- Car companies keep records of cars and trucks that were subject to a recall and were brought into a franchised dealership to have work done. One easy way to find out if a vehicle was subject to a recall and was repaired is to contact the automaker. This can be cone via mail, in person or calling the manufacturer’s customer line.
  • MyCarStats– is a recall and safety-check site that is a free online source which also makes NHTSA’s information easier to use. It neatly organized and lists NHTSA recalls, consumer complaints, engineering investigations and technical service bulletins, providing summaries of each [4].

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

NHTSA and manufacturers issue vehicle recalls to guard people from the harm and property damage that can be affected by a vehicle with a serious safety defect. It is clearly important for manufacturers to try to reach every owner of every affected vehicle once a recall is issued. By also using the resources available online, owners can learn if their car is being recalled. Our firm likewise compiles a list of weekly recalls that include motor vehicles to help consumers in their efforts to drive safe.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to a defective product, please contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will fight for the compensation you deserve. Call (727) 451-6900 today.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765



[1] http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_25695995/highlands-ranch-woman-missing-since-tuesday-found-alive?source=infinite-up
[2] http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_28998719/woman-trapped-days-park-county-car-crash-sues?source=infinite-up
[3] http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/21/us-colorado-lawsuit-idUSKCN0SF2WO20151021
[4] http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/recalled-but-unrepaired-cars-are-a-safety-risk-to-consumers.html