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Volkswagen troubles highlight intersection of personal injury, product liability, P.1

Car accidents can occur for a whole host of reasons, and can involve fault not only on the part of the drivers involved, but also third parties. One possibility for third party liability in car accident cases is when there are defects with a vehicle. Here again, the possibilities are many, and motorists often aren’t aware of when their vehicle may be at risk.

The situation is made worse when auto manufacturers fail to carry out their duty to report potential defects, as is the case with Volkswagen. The manufacturer is currently under fire for failing to report at least one death and three injuries to a federal database tracking such defects in order to alert consumers and save lives.

In addition, Volkswagen may also have failed to report lawsuits connected to these accidents to federal regulators, as there are no records of the litigation kept by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Under federal law, legal complaints are supposed to be reported to the NHTSA within 30 days of the ending of the quarter in which a manufacturer learns of claims being filed. Manufacturers can be fined for failing to report such claims to regulators.

Other manufacturers have been targeted for failing to report such claims, but Volkswagen’s reporting failures are the greatest among the major automobile manufacturers in the last 10 or so years. In our next post, we’ll continue speaking about the topic of regulatory violations and what accident victims should do to ensure they explore every potential avenue of recovery in their case. 

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