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Lawsuits & Litigation

Car Accident Law: The Impact of Recalls on Car Accident Lawsuits

— December 2, 2020

In cases where a death has occurred, plaintiffs seeking damages can also get justice by including the car manufacturer in a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you’ve been in a car accident, you may find yourself in a car accident lawsuit. If you are the at fault party, that means liability for the accident has been assigned to you, and in those cases, you are more likely to find yourself as the defendant. While the no-fault driver might initiate a lawsuit to cover damages not covered by the car insurance of either party. 

In states like Florida, there is no fault assigned for car accidents and everyone is required to have car insurance, by law, but that doesn’t always result in a reasonable pay out or a positive result for either party. Concerns, like liability, and parties at fault, can be affected by car recalls. If you’ve been in an accident, and a recall has been issued on your vehicle, this article is for you. 


When you find yourself on the fault side of an accident, you assume the liability for the accident. However, even in no fault states lawsuits can be brought between a plaintiff and defendant over the events of a car accident. In some no-fault states, for instance, a driver can sue for damages needed to cover the cost of repairs, but not for pain and suffering due to the accident.

If you’ve received information on a car recall, and failed to act on it, an attorney could argue that increases your liability in the accident, even in a no-fault state, and the court might agree. Conversely, if the manufacturer was negligent in providing recall information in a safe and timely fashion, they may also assume some liability for the accident. Either way, recalls affect liability when it comes to car accidents around the country.


The number of defendants in a lawsuit can be impacted by recalls, and that’s because of liability, as discussed above. If a manufacturer’s negligence or breach is fully or partially responsible for the accident in the instance of a recall, additional defendants from the company can be added to the lawsuit.

Wrongful Death

In Florida, wrongful death occurs when “the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” by one party leads to the death of another. For a car manufacturer to be named in a wrongful death lawsuit, an attorney must prove the company acted negligently or in breach of a sales contract between the buyer and seller. State laws vary as to who can file a claim on behalf of the deceased, but in Florida, it’s the executor of the estate. Typically, this is an individual appointed in the estate owner’s will, or otherwise appointed by the state of Florida.

Side view of front end of vehicle after crash and fire; image by Jan2575, via
Side view of front end of vehicle after crash and fire; image by Jan2575, via

When someone dies unexpectedly, costs can add up quickly. Damages from a wrongful death claim may cover things like funerary costs, medical costs, loss of income and financial support, and even pain and suffering for a loss of emotional support. The sad truth is that car accidents kill people and that can leave an emotional and financial hole that goes beyond the cost of car repairs. In these cases, a recall could influence whether or not a manufacturer or dealership is named in a wrongful death suit.

Bottom Line: Recalls Matter

Being in a car accident is traumatic. Finding yourself as a defendant in a civil lawsuit that seeks damages for your liability in the accident is costly, hinders the emotional healing process and puts you in a position to relive the accident, over and over, which is especially hard in cases where you lost a loved one. The extra stress and guilt that results from being named in a lawsuit like this can be unbearable. 

If you’ve been in a car accident and are facing a lawsuit only to find that your vehicle has been recalled for potentially deadly safety issues, you should share this information with your lawyer as soon as you know it. Your attorney might be able to use this information to decrease your liability and name additional defendants at the car manufacturing company who might actually be responsible for the accident.

In cases where a death has occurred, plaintiffs seeking damages can also get justice by including the car manufacturer in a wrongful death lawsuit. For these reasons, it’s important to know your rights when it comes to car recalls, liability and car accidents, no matter where you live. You have a right to a vehicle that works safely, and to share the road with other safe vehicles, if that right was violated because of a manufacturer flaw, the negligence involved in such an instance could change the entire case.

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