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How does a car recall work?

When you purchase a new vehicle, it's your hope that it will provide many years of reliable service.

Unfortunately, there are times when something goes wrong. For example, a particular part could be found faulty by the manufacturer, thus prompting a recall.

When it comes to car recalls, you don't want to sit back and ignore what's going on around you. Instead, it's important to know your rights and what to do next.

A recall begins when an automobile manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decides that the vehicle or a piece of equipment, such as an air bag, presents a safety risk. If a recall is made, the manufacturer is required by law to notify all owners. Furthermore, they must then fix the problem free of cost.

If you receive a recall notice, don't take it lightly. Instead, realize that this is something that could have a major impact on your vehicle and your safety. Even if you don't think you need to visit your local dealer, it's better to be safe than sorry.

The problem with all of this is simple: Not every owner will receive a recall notice. For this reason, it's possible that a person could continue to drive a vehicle that is extremely dangerous.

If you've been injured in an accident caused by a defective vehicle part, don't hesitate to receive medical attention. Once you're feeling better, you can then find out more about the accident, including if a recall was ever issued. At some point, you may realize that filing a lawsuit is the best way to be compensated for your injuries and other damages.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "How Recalls Work," accessed Nov. 02, 2016

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