Seattle, Washington (PRWEB) September 02, 2014
General Motors continues to face tough questions in regard to its handling of an ignition switch defect dating back more than a decade, and the whole event has caused many to wonder if their own vehicles may suffer from serious safety issues.
After all, it’s not just GM automobiles that could be privy to a defect. Recalls of a variety of brands are issued on a regular basis, and with hundreds of millions of automobiles on the road, some problems are bound to fall through the cracks.
Consumers have options when it comes to identifying these defects, and the Bernard Law Group has put together an important resource aimed at helping drivers. In his three-plus decades as a Seattle auto accident lawyer, Kirk Bernard has seen how the automobile recall process has progressed, so he’s uniquely positioned to speak on this matter.
“In the past, a person had to rely almost exclusively on a letter in the mail to know if they were driving a vehicle that could put them and their family at risk,” said Mr. Bernard. “And while certified mail is still one option, the internet has opened up a number of possibilities. Consumers who take an active interest in safety have more choices than ever when it comes to identifying possible dangers.”
With that in mind, the following tips from the Bernard Law Group will empower drivers in Washington and across the country to take an active interest in safety:
1. Watch The Mail- While it may seem old-fashioned, the mail is still a valid option for learning about vehicle defects. Unfortunately, many people confuse recall alerts with junk mail, and those letters thus get thrown out without a second glance. Always be on the lookout for correspondence from an automaker; you never know when it’s a recall alert.
2. Visit The NHTSA- This August, the NHTSA came out with a new tool that allows persons to search for recalled vehicles based off of an automobile’s VIN. That tool (which is explored in an August 20, 2014 USA Today article aptly entitled “NHTSA launches VIN-searchable recall finder)” provides perhaps the easiest way to determine if a safety issue exists.
3. Visit The Automaker’s Website- The NHTSA has also mandated that individual automakers provide some method of looking up recalls on their websites. At this time, it’s not yet clear how carefully each site has implemented such a feature, so quality may vary dramatically. Do not take a lack of search results as a guarantee that no recall has been issued.
4. Ask The Seller- Any purchase of a used car should be accompanied by an inquiry with the seller as to whether or not a recall exists on the vehicle. If a VIN lookup using one of the aforementioned tools turns up an open recall, refuse to purchase the vehicle until the issue is guaranteed to have been fixed.
5. Ask The Renter- Rental car companies have also faced controversy for allowing recalled vehicles to remain on the road. Ask a rental company about their recall policy, and follow up with a VIN lookup on a Smartphone before even leaving the lot.
6. Google- When all else fails, type a few keywords into a search engine to figure out if a recall has been issued on a line of vehicles or if others share your concerns. A cacophony of voices speaking up about an issue can be what causes recalls to be issued in the first place.
7. Visit A Mechanic- If a person suspects their vehicle suffers from a defect but can’t find any information about a recall online, bring the automobile in to a mechanic and file a report with the automaker. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, as early action can protect yourself and others who might drive the same vehicle.
Kirk Bernard has been protecting the rights of Washington personal injury victims for 30 years, achieving landmark court victories and settlements in the process. The Bernard Law Group provides legal representation for those injured in car crashes, bicycle collisions, workplace accidents, medical malpractice situations, defective drug incidents, premises liability cases, and more. Persons interested in a free consultation can visit the Bernard Law Group’s website or its GM recall page at http://www.4injured.com/seattle-gm-recall-lawyers-serving-washington.shtml.