Recently, General Motors has faced significant scrutiny in the face of safety-related concerns stemming from their handling of ignition switch failures in several popular vehicle models. The issue occurred when an ignition would switch from the “run” to “off” position without warning, often while a vehicle took a significant bump in the road. As a result of the ignition turning off, airbags failed to deploy when the cars were involved in some collisions which led to substantial injuries and even several fatalities.
Federal investigators reviewed claims that GM engineers knew of the defect for years prior to the formal recall of these vehicles which occurred in February of 2014. As part of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, GM agreed to pay $900 million in resolution of the claims brought against it by the government, but that did not begin to address the claims of consumers who were either injured by a faulty ignition switch or who lost a loved one in a crash, claims that could cost GM billions in additional funds.
Recently, GM agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against it by its shareholders in the amount of $575 million which will address more than 1,380 civil cases related to the ignitions which is a significant but limited view of all the pending claims related to this issue. In fact, after settlement of those 1,380 claims, hundreds of cases remain to be settled or addressed in a final manner and several are now set to proceed to trials in multiple states in the country.
These trials and other pending personal injury claims could reveal public sentiment over the value of GM’s actions in allegedly delaying the recall notice and in failing to fix the problem when first discovered, a fix that experts suggest would have cost approximately $1 per vehicle.
Personal injury claims that stem from faulty vehicle components can be hard to value because the facts of each collision are unique. While many cases involve medical expenses, the expenses and the nature of the injuries are different in each instance. While some victims may recover fully, others may suffer for the remainder of their lives from injuries that will never heal. And while some victims can return to work after they finish their medical treatment, others will be permanently disabled. For these reasons, it is always best to speak to an experienced professional about your particular accident if you were hurt in a car crash.
The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. has been representing the victims of car accidents in Chicago for years and we have fought for the best possible outcome in every case we handle. If you were affected in a collision, we want to help you as well and we will offer you a free case consultation when you call us toll free at (855) 529-2442. If you prefer to meet with us in person but you are too injured to travel to our offices, we will come to you and offer you a free in-home or in-hospital consultation so that you can get the information you deserve, whenever you need it.
Prior Blog Entry:
Child Passenger Safety Week is September 13-19, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published September 9, 2015.
GM Still Faces Exposure in Flawed Ignition Switch Suits That Seek Billions, by Erik Larson, Bob Van Voris, and Patricia Hurtado, Claims Journal, published September 21, 2015.