Many people decide to purchase a Toyota Prius based on fuel savings and tax breaks. However, like any other type of motor vehicle, the Prius needs repairs and maintenance. There is always the possibility that a certain Prius part will be defective, will malfunction, and will cause an accident and injuries.
Prius manufacturer Toyota recently reported a potentially dangerous defect in the parking brakes of thousands of 2016 and 2017 models of the Prius. Specifically, the parking brake can stop working without warning. If you are not in “park” and are trying to use the parking brake to keep the car still while the ignition is on, the brake may suddenly not engage and the car may start moving. If you are getting out of the car when this happens, you can be seriously injured. In addition, an inoperative parking brake can result in collisions and injuries to others.
Toyota admitted to hearing reports of collisions, injuries, and even fatalities that are possibly related to the defective parking brake on Prius models. Victims can report such accidents and injuries to many agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If the agency receives a number of complaints or serious enough complaints to deem the problem a serious risk of injury, it can recommend that the auto manufacturer issue a recall for all affected vehicles. In addition, auto manufacturers can voluntarily issue a recall, as Toyota did in this situation.
The Recall Process
When auto manufacturers issue recalls, they first notify the owners of all vehicles that were assembled with the potentially defective part, identified by the vehicle identification number (VIN). Any notified car owners will be able to bring their vehicles into a dealer and have the defective part repaired or replaced – whichever is necessary to resolve the issue and ensure the vehicle is safe. In the case of the Prius recall, Toyota plans to add certain clips to the brake cable dust boots, which the company believes will prevent the problem and will keep the emergency brake operative. This repair will be performed at no charge to Prius owners.
How do You Know if Your Prius has been Recalled?
92,000 Priuses have been recalled in the United States, as well as 212,000 vehicles in Japan. If you own a Prius, it is natural to be concerned whether your vehicle has a defective and possibly dangerous parking brake.
Toyota has announced plans to send out notices to all Prius owners of affected vehicles in November. If you have not yet received such a notice, it may not necessarily mean that your vehicle is not involved, as mistakes can happen. For this reason, if you own a 2016 or 2017 Prius, you should check your VIN number on one of the following websites:
- Toyota Recall Site: http://www.toyota.com/recall
- NHTSA Recall Site: https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/
If you do learn that your vehicle may have a defect online or through notice from Toyota, you should not delay in following the instructions provided to make an appointment to have your emergency brake repaired. Any delay in doing so can put you and your family at serious risk of injury. While a recall may be an inconvenience, a serious injury can significantly affect many aspects of your life. You do not want to wait to take action regarding any type of recall, especially if it involves the vehicle you drive on a regular basis.
Know Your Rights if You Have been Injured
Many people have reportedly already sustained injuries because of the defective parking brake on the Prius. In addition, more people may suffer injuries if they are not aware of the recall. If you sustained a serious injury because of the faulty parking brake on your Prius, you should discuss your legal rights with the experienced attorneys of Plevin & Gallucci as soon as possible.
Like all product manufacturers, auto manufacturers have the duty to sell products that are safe for consumers to use. If they fail to do so, you can hold them liable for your medical bills and other losses related to your injuries.
If you have been injured by a defective product of any kind, contact the products liability attorneys of Plevin & Gallucci to get the compensation you deserve.