America’s legal system has put many provisions in place to protect consumers who have purchased defective products from the manufacturers who produced them. Whether consumers take legal action that results in a lawsuit settlement or whether they file individual lawsuits under the lemon law, the relief consumers deserve is available to them. Most recently, America’s legal system, and the lawyers working on behalf of consumers, secured a lawsuit settlement for defects found in the accelerators of Toyota cars that happened to be the largest lawsuit settlement in the United States for defective vehicles. While most vehicle defects may not rise to this level, some will prove difficult or even impossible to repair and those consumers may then find themselves searching for an attorney who is experienced in litigating legal claims under the lemon law.
To improve vehicle safety and the safety of America’s highways, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration oversees complaints from vehicle owners and drivers, conducts defect investigations and administers safety recalls for all vehicles, including Toyota cars. Most often, consumers receive notification of safety recalls directly from the manufacturer, but consumers can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration directly. To address the vehicle defect, consumers should present their vehicle to the manufacturer for repairs without any out of pocket expense to them. Because most defects are effectively addressed during this initial repair attempt, issues with recalls usually end here. However, it is possible that, because of the nature of the defect the problem cannot be resolved or the value of the consumer’s vehicle is so badly reduced that further action is necessary.
In 2009, consumers who had purchased or leased Toyota cars began experiencing issues with faulty accelerators and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration became involved in addressing the issue. Because Toyota cars were receiving numerous complaints that the vehicle accelerated on its own, causing crashes, injuries and even deaths, the vehicle recall required further action, eventually culminating with the current lawsuit settlement. Because of the popularity of Toyota cars in the United States, about 22 million consumers in the United States were affected by the lawsuit settlement, which provides compensation for the reduced value of their Toyota cars.
While recalls are, unfortunately, rather common, most vehicle defects are directly related to a single car and to an individual consumer, which could require filing a legal claim under the lemon law. Once a consumer recognizes that their vehicle is defective and has not been repaired following several repair attempts, they should begin considering the legal relief afforded to them by the lemon law. Consulting with and hiring an attorney who is experienced in the lemon law could result in the consumer being awarded a new vehicle to replace their defective vehicle or monetary compensation to return the consumer back to the position they were in before purchasing their lemon.
Whether consumers struggling with a defective vehicle are part of legal action that results in a lawsuit settlement or whether the consumer proceeds with an individual claim under the lemon law, they can feel confident that the legal system has the structure in place to protect their rights.