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Maryland Lawmakers Propose Bill to Inform Consumers About Car Defects Sooner

Author: Portner & Shure

With news over the last few months of auto recalls due to defective airbags in millions of cars, Maryland lawmakers are trying to fix one of the biggest flaws in the auto industry: secrecy surrounding problems with cars. The proposed law would “give dealers the protections they need to disclose critical safety information.” As the system works now, car manufacturers collect information about problems and report them to the federal government. This bill would make sure consumers know about problems when car makers know instead of years later when recalls are announced. For example, the infamous maker of faulty airbags, Takata, has said they are willing to pay daily fines instead of revealing documents about the defective airbags.

A 16-year-old Marylander was killed in 2005 in a car accident, and seven years later, the same make and model car she was driving was recalled for problems with its ignition switch. If this proposed bill was in place at the time, a life could have been saved because this information would have been released to car owners affected by the recall immediately instead of seven years later. As we continue to move into a period of increased availability of information, it only makes sense for this proposed bill or a similar version to pass.

Car dealerships receive internal service bulletins that they are not allowed to disclose to the public, and these usually include any problems before reaching recall status. If this bill passes, dealerships would be able to inform consumers of these problems well before a serious injury or even death occurs.

Opponents of the bill worry about this being a federal issue instead of a state issue. Everyone agrees though, consumers deserve to know about problems with their vehicles at the same time manufacturers learn of them; not several years later when it is too late. Far too many car accident deaths are attributed to defective parts. They could have been prevented if more information was readily made available to consumers when problems first arose.

If you have purchased a car that has recently been recalled, take it to the dealer to get fixed. Further, you may be entitled to several legal remedies, including:

  • Economic damages: you may be able to recoup the lost value of the car's resale value. You may also be able to recover for loss of use of the car
  • Personal injury recovery: if the defective automobile resulted in physical injuries to you, you may be able to recover for the costs associated with the injury
  • Class action: If the recall has affected enough numbers of consumers, a class action lawsuit might be an available option
  • Manufacturer reimbursement: Some auto manufacturers may voluntarily pay repair bills the defective product caused before the recall.

Sometimes, however, you may need to initiate litigation to be compensated for your financial as well as your physical losses. From SUV rollovers to fuel-fed fires and faulty door latches, there are a variety of vehicle safety defects that can lead to severe injuries in a car crash. At Portner & Shure, we have handled these cases for over twenty years. We have the experience and technical resources to analyze your auto accident case, answer your questions, and pursue the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free case evaluation at (855) 954-4141 or visit us online.

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