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When you buy a new car, you expect it to be safe to ensure you are protected on the road. Unfortunately, there are times when a car part has a defect, making it dangerous. Hopefully, as soon as the defect is discovered, the manufacturer will issue a recall for its repair.
The current Chevy Bolt recall is due to a dangerous fire hazard associated with the car’s battery. If you have been injured due to a Chevy Bolt accident, you may be confused about what rights you have. Meeting with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case will help, as the lawyer can advise you of your rights and assist you in pursuing a claim.
Chevy bolt recall Faqs
In November 2020, General Motors (GM) announced a recall of all Chevy Bolt EV vehicles for model years 2017-2019. GM expanded the recall to include all 2020-2022 model year Chevy Bolt EV and EVU models in August 2021. If you or a loved one owns a Chevy Bolt EV or EVU, read the following FAQs for more information regarding what to do next and your rights.
What Is a Vehicle Recall?
A vehicle recall happens when a car manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards, meaning that the car or a part of the car has a safety defect. The United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety (Title 49, Chapter 301) defines motor vehicle safety as “the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents” that would occur because of “the design, construction, or performance” of the car. Motor vehicle safety also protects against unreasonable risk of death or injury that would result from any accidents.
A safety defect means there is a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment that poses a risk to motor vehicle safety. The defect may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture, or items of equipment of the same type and manufacture, which is the type of problem that caused the Chevy Bolt Recall.
Why Is There a Chevy Bolt Recall?
In October 2020, the NHTSA opened an investigation into three vehicle fires that occurred in 2017, 2018, and 2019 Chevy Bolt EVs; the investigation revealed that the cause of the fires was a defect in the car’s battery, manufactured by LG. The issues involve two, “rare manufacturing defects”—a torn anode tab and a folded separator — that when present in the same battery cell increase the risk of fire. After initially recalling models years 2017-2019, the Chevy Bolt recall was expanded to include all Chevy Bolt models, even ones that had received an earlier recall replacement repair for the same fire issue.
I Own a Chevy Bolt; What Should I Do Now?
Your first step if you own a Chevy Bolt EV (2017-2021) or EVU (2022), is to follow the interim safety guidance provided by Chevrolet. Chevrolet’s interim safety guidance recommends you take the following steps:
- Set your vehicle to a 90 percent state of charge limitation using Hilltop Reserve mode (for 2017-2018 model years) or Target Charge Level (for 2019-2022 model years) mode. Instructions on how to do this are available in videos here. If you are unable to successfully make these changes, or do not feel comfortable making these changes, GM is asking you to visit your dealer to have these adjustments completed.
- Charge your vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting the battery below approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) of remaining range, where possible.
- Park your vehicle outside immediately after charging, and try to park away from any structures if you can.
- Do not leave your vehicle charging indoors overnight.
Chevrolet does not have replacement batteries available yet but is currently working with LG to make them available as soon as possible. When the replacement batteries are available, you should visit your local dealership to have the vehicle serviced.
The NHTSA stresses that it is very important for you to visit your dealer to have the vehicle serviced because the dealer is required to fix the recalled part or portion of your car for free. If a dealer refuses to repair your vehicle in accordance with the recall letter, you should notify Chevrolet immediately. You can also file a complaint with NHTSA at www.safercar.gov; if you choose to file a complaint, be sure to include as much detail as possible, including the names of employees involved and the location of the dealership.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured by My Chevy Bolt?
If you have been injured by a Chevy Bolt, you should immediately seek medical attention; ask your doctor for any medical records relating to your treatment, as they will be needed by your lawyer. Next, be sure to preserve the evidence of your accident; take pictures of your injury and the condition of your car. Make a record of when you were injured and under what conditions the accident occurred.
Once you have gathered as much information as you can regarding your injury—medical records, accident reports, etc.—you should give everything you have to your attorney. He or she will then conduct their own investigation into the accident, building off the evidence you provided. The attorney will then help you file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
What Kind of Claim Do I Have?
When you are injured by a defective car or defective car parts, you have a civil claim known as a products liability claim. This type of claim can be brought against whoever designed, manufactured, sold, or furnished the product. In the case of the Chevy Bolt Recall, you would have a products liability claim if you were injured by your car because there is a design flaw or a manufacturing defect in one of its parts.
If your loved one died because of their injury from a Chevy Bolt, you would have a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim brought by the surviving members of a deceased individual against another person or entity who can be held liable for the death. A wrongful death claim is treated as a personal injury claim that the deceased would have been able to bring if death had not occurred.
When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately if you have been hurt because of a Chevy Bolt EV or EVU from any model year. You can start looking for attorneys either through recommendations with trusted friends and family, or with simple searches online for phrases such as “personal injury lawyer near me.”
You can find lawyers through the American Bar Association using their online resources. You can also check websites of smaller bar associations within your state, county, or city to find a lawyer closer to you. For example, you can check the New Orleans Bar Association’s website to find a New Orleans personal injury lawyer who specializes in products liability cases.
You do not have to work with the first lawyer you find. Research first and choose a personal injury lawyer who has the experience and skill needed to handle your case, and a track record of success in pursing personal injury claims. Zinda Law Group’s personal injury lawyers have extensive experience handling products liability cases and an outstanding record of success in handling personal injury matters for our clients.
An experienced personal injury attorney will help you file your claim and lawsuit and represent you in negotiating with the other parties. It is likely that your claim will result in a settlement, and an experienced personal injury lawyer will make sure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to in a settlement.
Time limits for a product liability claim
There are two different types of time limits that apply to products liability claims: Statutes of Limitations and Statutes of Repose. These time limits operate independently of each other, meaning if either of them expires in your case, you will not be able to file your claim.
Statutes of Limitations
A products liability claim is a type of civil claim, and all types of civil claims have their own time limits for filing; these limits, called statutes of limitations, dictate how long a person has the right to file a particular type of claim. Each state sets their own time limits, which is two years in many states. Accidents caused by defective products may result in a wrongful death, and statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim differs from that of a product liability claim in most states.
For example, in Texas, the statute of limitations for a products liability claim is three years; this means that a person has three years from the date of his or her injury from the defective product to file a claim. For a wrongful death claim, however, the statute of limitations is two years from the death of the victim. After the two-year mark, your wrongful death claim is barred, or not allowed, and you will not be able to recover damages.
There are some circumstances that may “toll” or pause this time limitation period. If you find yourself near the filing deadline, it is worth discussing your case with an experienced personal injury attorney who may be able to provide valuable information and guidance regarding your state’s statute of limitations.
Statutes of Repose
A statute of repose is a law that bars a claim after some action by the would-be defendant in a case, even if the would-be plaintiff has not yet been injured. The time-period begins to run the minute the defendant acts. For a products liability statute, the action that triggers the statutory period is when the manufacturer first sells the product on the market.
Twenty states have enacted Statutes of Repose for products liability. In action, these laws completely cut off manufacturers’ liability for defects once the product reaches an arbitrary “age.” The product age limit ranges from a low of 10-years in a number of states, to a high of 15-years in others, unless the manufacturer says useful life of the product is longer.
As an example, let’s say you were injured by a defective vacuum cleaner on March 12, 2019; the vacuum cleaner was first sold on the market on June 4, 2003. In your state, the statute of limitations is two years, and the statute of repose is 10 years. Here, the statute of limitations for your case would expire on March 12, 2021 (two years from the date of your injury), but the statute of repose would expire earlier, on June 4, 2013 (10 years from the date the product hit the market); this means that the last possible day you could a file a lawsuit against the vacuum’s manufacturer or distributor is June 4, 2013.
These statutes apply to all the vehicle components including airbags, seat belts, tires, ignition switches, sudden acceleration problems, and all of the other defective car parts. Since the Chevy Bolt EV and EVU models are relatively new products and only hit the market in 2016, the main issue for your claim will likely be the statute of limitations. A personal injury lawyer can tell you how a statute of repose in your state will affect the status of your claim.
Negligence and Liability in Products Liability Claims
For products liability, almost all states now operate under a strict products liability standard. This means that you do not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. You only need to prove that the product was defective, and that the product caused your injury.
If your product liability lawsuit is successful, you will likely be awarded compensatory damages, which may be able to cover the costs associated with your accident, such as medical bills and other out-of-pocket costs. Compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages; economic damages are the out-of-pocket costs associated with your injuries, while non-economic damages cover emotional and physical pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for things like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Mental anguish
How Zinda LAW GROUP Can Help You
If you have been affected by the Chevy Bolt recall or have suffered an injury due to a malfunction in your Chevy Bolt battery, you may feel lost concerning what to do next. Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group can assist you with recovering the costs associated with your injury. Our attorneys will guide you through the complex legal system and claims process to help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
We will take care of the legal work so you can focus on yourself and your family while you recover from your injury. If we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees; this is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. So call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 if you or a loved one have suffered an injury because of a Chevy Bolt, and schedule your first, free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.