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What to Do If You Receive a Safety Recall for Your Car

What to Do If You Receive a Safety Recall for Your Car

If you’re the owner of a 2017 Ford Focus, you may have received an important safety recall notice in December 2018. In October 2018, Ford announced it was recalling more than 1.2 million of its 2012 to 2018 Ford Focus cars because of a faulty part that may cause unexpected stalling. The company discovered the problem stemming due to a stuck canister purge valve within the fuel vapor system, which can lead to excessive vacuum and cause the plastic fuel tank to malfunction. This can result in:

  • An erratic or inaccurate fuel gauge indication
  • An inaccurate distance to empty
  • Other drivability concerns, which can all lead to an engine stall while driving

Ford says it will have parts ready for a repair by the first quarter of 2019. Owners of affected vehicles can get their cars repaired for free through Ford.

Getting a safety recall like this for your vehicle can be alarming. We use our cars for so much of our daily lives, so you might be wondering how to proceed and how to stay safe. Read on for information on when a recall is necessary and what to do if your car is recalled.

What to Do If You Receive a Safety Recall for Your Car Why Do Recalls Happen?

Vehicle recalls may originate from the manufacturer or from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) when it’s determined that a vehicle component creates an unreasonable safety risk or does not meet minimum safety standards. Manufacturers have the responsibility to ensure their products are safe to use.

Vehicles are serious machines. They weigh thousands of pounds and can be deadly when they don’t work properly.

When there is a safety problem with a vehicle, it is up to the manufacturer to fix it. This may mean replacing entire vehicles or reimbursing customers for them, or repairing the problem.

What to Do If You Receive a Safety Recall for Your CarHow Will You Be Notified of a Vehicle Recall?

Vehicle recall notifications are sent by letters in the mail. The recall will be sent to your address that is on your vehicle registration, so you should always make sure that address is up-to-date.

You can also sign up for the NHTSA’s email recall notification system. You’ll receive automatic updates on vehicles and parts that have been recalled, including school buses, motorcycles, car seats and tires, or you can select your make and model and whatever parts you’re interested in for custom notifications.

You can also always look up possible recalls on your car here. Make sure you have your 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to look up the recall. You can idenfity the VIN on the lower left part of your vehicle’s windshield, on your vehicle’s registration paperwork, and possibly on your insurance information.

Even if you don’t receive a notification from the manufacturer about a recall, if your vehicle is affected, you are entitled to receive the free remedy the manufacturer is offering.

Steps to Take After a Vehicle Recall

Follow all instructions set forth in the recall notice. If dealers are ready to make repairs, schedule an appointment with your dealer as soon as possible. Bring your recall letter with you.

If your dealer refuses to make the repair according to the recall letter for free, you should notify the manufacturer. Try to gather as many details as possible, including the name of the dealership and any employees you dealt with. You can also make a complaint at www.safecar.gov.

What If Your Car Is Not Recalled, But There’s a Safety Issue?

If you’re experiencing safety issues with your vehicle, other drivers may be, too. Get it repaired and listen to your technician’s recommendations.

You can then report your vehicle or the equipment safety problem to the NHTSA here. If there are similar reports from other drivers, the NHTSA may open up an investigation that can help keep you and other drivers safe. All personal information you submit is kept private, but an NHTSA investigator may call you to follow up. The NHTSA reviews every online report it receives, and it may open up an investigation at any time, not only after it receives a certain number of reports.

What to Do If You’re a Victim of a Recalled Vehicle

If you are seriously injured in a car accident due to a recalled vehicle or recalled vehicle part, you should contact a Birmingham car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Manufacturer negligence can result in serious injuries or even death. Your rights as a consumer deserve to be protected.

Contact the Pittman, Dutton & Hellums car accident attorney team for a free, no-obligation consultation. We only take on your case if we think we can win, and you don’t pay unless we do.

Prevent Drunk Driving After Holiday Parties: What You Should Know

Prevent Drunk Driving After Holiday Parties: What You Should Know

Business owners who are hosting holiday parties for their employees must consider one serious factor when planning: alcohol. Employees who get drunk at a party might drive off and get into an accident. You don’t want to face a lawsuit from an employee or someone they hurt, and you definitely want to keep your employees safe and sound after any work party where alcohol is served.

Excessive alcohol use contributes to more than 88,000 deaths a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With Christmas right around the corner, if you plan on serving alcohol at your work holiday party, read this guide to help employees stay safe and prevent drunk driving after holiday parties.

1. Set Guidelines Before the Party

If you’re going to serve alcohol at a holiday party, let employees know beforehand. This way, they can plan for transportation to and from the event.

Make it clear that the party is not about drinking. Highlight all the non-alcohol entertainment you’ll have at the party, whether it’s games, food, music or dancing. This can help to lessen any pressure employees may feel to drink, and make the purpose of the party one that’s not about alcohol.

State consequences for employees who engage in destructive behavior because of drinking. You may want to add these to your employee handbook and outline that:

Your business is not responsible for damage an intoxicated employee causes to any property.

Your business will enforce punishments for inappropriate behavior, whether a work event is held on-site or not.

Employees are responsible for their behavior at all times.

You may even want to create a written contract to hand out to employees before they attend, where they agree that they are responsible for their actions, even when fueled by alcohol. This can discourage excessive drinking.

Prevent Drunk Driving After Holiday Parties: What You Should Know 2. Prevent Over-Indulgence

One way to avoid over-serving employees alcohol is to employ trained bartenders at your event and instruct them to not serve alcohol to anyone who is visibly intoxicated, or host the event at an establishment with a liquor license.

You may also consider handing out a set number of free drink tickets for the night, like one or two per person. Forcing employees to pay a cash bar for additional drinks may discourage them from drinking too much.

Serving mixed drinks, like holiday punch, or drinks that are made with various types of liquor, can make keeping track of how much you’ve imbibed more difficult. You may want to just serve beer or wine, so it is easier for employees and their guests to track how many drinks they’ve had throughout the night.

You should also serve food at any event where alcohol is served. This can help to give employees a non-drinking activity to participate in (eating), and help to prevent employees from getting drunk as quickly as they would on an empty stomach.

3. Provide Easy Access to Transportation

Ideally, you’ll host a holiday party close to public transportation. If not, you could partner with a ride-sharing service to provide holiday party ride codes to employees, so they have a free ride home if they’re intoxicated.

Think about how much each of your employees is worth, and what kind of hit your business will experience if you lost one due to an injury or even death. Adding free rides to your holiday budget, whether it’s a party bus or ride-sharing credits, can keep everyone safe. At the very least, have the numbers of local taxi cab companies available for attendees to call.

You could also host a party near a hotel, so that attendees have a place to stay afterward without having to worry about driving home.

Prevent Drunk Driving After Holiday Parties: What You Should Know 4. Get Extra Protection

At any event where you’ll be mixing alcohol with employees, you might want to get extra insurance to protect you. You may face the risk of being sued by a victim of an employee who drives while drunk, so covering your bases with insurance and signed contracts by party attendees may help protect you.

Also, make sure you have some party attendees who agree to be sober drivers for the night. These people can be the ones to do last-minute errand runs or trips to get an item that is running low or has run out of stock. You might also consider offering a bonus to employees who volunteer to be sober designated drivers for their coworkers, so that there are lots of sober driving options available.

Host a Safe Holiday Party This Season

At Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, we wish you, your business and your employees a very merry holiday season. Make employee safety a priority at any event where alcohol is served, so you protect employees and your business.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident

When you’re in any type of car accident, you probably know the drill: stay at the scene, exchange insurance information, get contact details and license plate numbers, and in the case of an injury or death, call the police. Filing a police report in any car accident is a good idea, anyway, so that you have documentation about what exactly happened, since you might have injuries that aren’t immediately apparent.

Taking these steps after a car accident doesn’t just help to ensure you get the compensation you deserve from an insurance agency and provide you with helpful documents you’ll need if you decide to pursue a car accident claim. Doing so is also required by law. Drivers involved in accidents that result in injuries or death must:

Stop their vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so

Check on all drivers and passengers

Stay at the scene immediately after the accident occurs

Provide basic first aid and/or get emergency medical help for anyone in need

Call police and wait for them to arrive

Exchange information

Identify and talk to witnesses

Contact insurance companies

When a driver leaves the scene of a serious car accident, they’re now the offending party in a hit-and-run accident. Drivers might flee the scene of an accident for reasons including a lack of a driver’s license or insurance, the fact that they’re intoxicated, because they’re driving on a suspended license, or because the vehicle they’re driving is not theirs.

Fight the urge to chase after them, since that means you’re leaving the scene of the accident, as well. Here’s what to do when you’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car AccidentCall Police

Police have fast emergency vehicles and the means to piece together clues to find the person who hit you and ran. You should contact police so they can:

File a police report with your side of the story of how the accident happened

Talk to witnesses who may have seen what the other driver looked like or what the license plate number was, or who will be able to provide identifying details about the driver’s car and what happened during the accident

Match up any details that are provided with individuals or cars police have on file

A police report with this information will help you when you report the accident to your insurance company. In cases where the other vehicle or driver is identified, you can use the police report if you decide to file a lawsuit against the other driver.

If you leave the scene of the accident, too, you’ll also be breaking the law. It will be harder to capture details that can help your case after the fact, and police will wonder why you left.

Even if the damage to your vehicle is minor, you should still contact police. They will be able to tell you that the damage is too minor to report, and you can gather the officer’s name, phone number and badge number so you can provide that to your insurance company.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car AccidentGather Witness Information

Police can gather witness information, but while you’re waiting for police to arrive, you should also get the names and contact information of all witnesses yourself, as well.

Some witnesses might want to leave the scene themselves. If a witness is going to leave, ask them to write down a statement of what happened during the accident and sign it. Your insurance company and/or Birmingham car accident attorney can contact them for more information.

Document the Scene

Again, in addition to getting a police report, gathering evidence is important. Shoot photos or videos of the damage to your vehicle and your injury. If you are able to snap a photo of the other vehicle before it speeds away, that might be helpful.

You should also write down everything you remember about the vehicle and keep those notes in addition to the police report.

Get Medical Treatment

As we’ve covered, when you don’t visit a doctor after a car accident, and it turns out you were injured, another party can claim that your injury was caused by something other than the car accident. You should get medical treatment so that you don’t exacerbate your injury and so that you get the medical coverage for your accident that you are entitled to.

Keep organized records of all medical treatments and how your injury progresses. These are vital documents should decide to file a car accident claim.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney If the Offender Is Found

If you receive word that the other driver in your accident has been located by police, consult with a car accident attorney about next steps. A motorist who is found guilty in a hit-and-run accident will likely need to pay for damages to the other party, which would be you, the victim.

If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident and want to pursue legal action against a party that has been identified, contact the Pittman, Dutton & Hellums car accident attorney team for a free consultation.