California consumers have several viable options for seeking compensation or reimbursement when their vehicles fail to live up to standards. When numerous consumers experience the same serious vehicle defect, they may band together in a class action lawsuit, especially after reports of injuries or death result from the defect. One auto maker is attempting to avoid such a lawsuit by issuing a recall of nearly five million vehicles.
Fiat Chrysler has received complaints about the cruise control system in vehicles manufactured between 2014 and 2018, including certain models of Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram cars and trucks. Drivers reports that, under certain circumstances, the cruise control refuses to deactivate and may accelerate automatically. Fiat Chrysler claims the problem results only when acceleration occurs at the same time that a certain electrical network short circuits. The driver may then be unable to cancel cruise control without repeatedly pumping the brakes or placing the vehicle in park.
No injuries have yet been reported because of this issue. However, Fiat Chrysler recently paid $70 million in fines for failing to inform U.S. regulators of injuries resulting from vehicle crashes in previous years. Additionally, the company has a reputation for mishandling safety issues in their vehicles. This is evidenced by recent lawsuit settlements reaching over $100 million.
Although a recall may preempt many future problems for a car manufacturer, a vehicle defect responsible for accidents and injuries may leave many families struggling. When this happens, families in California and elsewhere may seek satisfaction through civil courts. Often, when groups of consumers have similar issues, they can achieve class action status for their complaint. It is important to seek an attorney skilled in handling such cases.
Source: NBC News, "Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million U.S. vehicles for cruise control defect", May 25, 2018