Feds Go after Fiat Chrysler for Failing to Perform Recalls

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Vehicles have been recalled en-masse over the past year or so. At the same time, there has been an enormous amount of personal injury claims related to defective autos as well. While some manufacturers take action before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) begins an investigation, others drag their feet as the death toll climbs. It seems the NHTSA has had enough of the latter, and is holding a public hearing regarding the behavior of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The NHTSA Usually Oversees, But Does Not Enforce Unlike other government agencies, the NHTSA doesn't usually force its will upon other entities. Instead, it gathers personal injury reports from citizens, as well as data from other sources, and investigates when a trend is noted. If the preliminary investigation indicates a vehicle is faulty, the agency sends a formal notice to the manufacturer, suggesting that a recall be conducted. Around 78% of the time, it's the auto manufacturer that initiates the recall. If the manufacturer opts not to conduct the recall, the NHTSA continues to investigate and holds a public hearing and both parties may present evidence. It's at this point that the NHTSA may force the manufacturer to issue a recall, but only if it is found that one is necessary and the manufacturer refuses to do it on its own. NHTSA Alleges Fiat Chrysler Did Not Conduct Recalls Effectively The NHTSA is most unhappy with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty recall, which was covered in a previous Charleston personal injury blog. In these 1.56 million vehicles, the gas tank is placed too close to the rear of the vehicle, which can result in fires, even when impact is slight. Despite the fact that auto makers have known this placement is a problem for decades, Fiat Chrysler sold vehicles with design flaws anyway. Even as deaths occurred, the company's response was to ask owners to visit a dealership to have a trailer hitch added, to "correct" the issue. To date, only 21% of the affected vehicles have had their recall "repair." Under similar circumstances, the company has allegedly failed to carry out 20 recalls, which involve around 10 million vehicles. In addition to inadequate fixes, and failure to complete recalls within a reasonable amount of time, the NHTSA says Fiat Chrysler failed to notify consumers of the recall in a timely manner. The hearing is scheduled for July 2, though no word has been released yet as to what disciplinary action Fiat Chrysler will face if it's found the company was negligent.

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Bear in mind that the NHTSA's investigations do not typically begin until enough consumer reports have come in to signify a trend. Therefore, numerous incidents have to occur before a defect is noted. If you have been injured in an accident, and you believe your vehicle did not function as it should have, it may have a previously undiscovered defect. Equally, manufacturers may not be free from liability even if a recall has been conducted. If you're accruing medical bills and have had other expenses as a result of a defective vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact us using our online form or speak directly with one of our attorneys now by calling 1(800)610-2546.

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