The Audacity of Auto Manufacturers
When you are involved in an auto accident, your first step should always be to contact an attorney. You can never be certain to what extent accidents are the result of manufacture error, and an attorney will be better positioned to determine if the accident was the fault of the manufacturer. Whether you are the person believed to have caused the accident or the victim of it, it is in your interest to have an attorney thoroughly investigate the matter.
Auto Manufacturer Ordered to Pay
As this article from the Los Angeles Times demonstrates, a person cannot rely on auto manufacturers to report problems in a timely manner. As a result, people who are involved in car accidents may believe that they are culpable for accidents when that may not actually be true. The story mentions that General Motors must pay a record $35 million fine. The fine was a result of the unsatisfactory manner in which the company handled the recall of certain cars that possessed defective ignition switches. More specifically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated why it took General Motors such a long time to address concerns and complaints regarding the defect. The complaints date back to 2004. The problem of defective ignitions was particularly important because, in some instances, it caused the deactivation of airbags.
While the automaker declares that it will change the manner in which it reviews matters related to consumer safety, this is not the first time that manufacturers have had problems in conducting recalls. As the article mentions, both Toyota and General Motors had each paid the previous maximum fine of $17.4 million. It is also interesting and unsurprising to note that the company seems to refuse to take responsibility for its malfunctioning equipment. They have said that problems arise with the ignition switch due to jarring or heavy key rings. They framed the issue in a way that negates their responsibility for the problem.
An Attorney Can Help
The reluctance to accept responsibility is an important reason why you should see an attorney if you are in a traffic accident. While an accident is always a difficult experience, it can be even more daunting when dealing with an auto manufacturer because of their great economic resources. The process of rationing blame in an auto accident may be particularly difficult because one may have to establish which party is to blame, to what degree each party may be culpable, what type of paperwork is necessary to file, and if an expert is needed to reconstruct the accident. It will be easy for car manufacturers to perform these tasks because of their significant resources. They must be especially vigilant in defending these cases because they want to discourage other consumers from bringing similar cases. Hiring an experienced attorney can even the playing field and put the injured party at greater ease.
If you are involved in a traffic accident, contact the Appel Law Firm LLP. We have a strong reputation in handling cases related to auto accidents and may be able provide you with assistance today.