General Motors Defective Vehicle Lawsuits
General Motors is currently dealing with perhaps the greatest safety disaster since it opened its factory doors. The nation’s largest auto manufacturer has had problems with some of its vehicles. There have been lawsuits all around regarding the defective ignition switches that GM cars came with. In 2014, GM recalled about 2.6 million vehicles in an effort to protect, drivers but not before there was substantial damage. Over the past decade, over 400 deaths have been tied to the safety defects of GM vehicles. A person who has been in an accident with one of these GM vehicles may have a case to pursue. Personal injury cases due to defective vehicles can be tricky because they involve corporations, so the expertise of a specialized ignition switch lawyer is useful.
Faulty Ignition Problems
Understanding the degree of damage resulting from these cars is vital when considering filing a Chevy ignition switch lawsuit. The faulty ignition switch was a problem in the Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion, and Chevy Impala. Data from Freidman Research showed that the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion and the 03-07 Chevrolet Cobalt were responsible for over 300 deaths. A defective ignition switch causes the car to stop, resulting in power failure in the vehicle. Such a failure can cause the brakes and steering wheel to malfunction, leading to a serious accident.
Another problem that came up with these vehicles is airbags failing to deploy. In an accident, the airbags are designed to inflate to protect the occupants from hitting the windshield. When that doesn’t happen, then the severity of injuries increase by a significant percentage. The Chevy Impala is one of the products that caused catastrophic accidents; about 143, due to airbag failure. So there are two aspects to factor in when pursuing such a case. First, there is the fact that the GM vehicle crashed then another is that the airbags failed to deploy. A GM recall lawyer has the skills to know how such elements will impact a case.
GM started their recall when reports of accidents in the 2005 Cobalt got to them. The company conducted investigations and then recalled the vehicles in 2014. In Februarys that year, the company took eight models of the market. These are:
• 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
• 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
• 2006-2010 Saturn Sky
• 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
• 2005-2010 Pontiac G5
• 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
• 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit
• 2007 Opel GT
Later that June, more vehicles were included in the recall:
• 2000-2005 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo
• 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu
• 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue
• 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero
• 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am
• 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
• 2000-2005 Pontiac Grand Am
GM has recalled several other models over the last few years. The company said that it would only pay for a few products that prove to have an ignition problem.
Apparently, the case for GM defective vehicles still has another angle that a victim can include in their lawsuit. In March 2014, General Motors admitted that the company has been aware of the faulty ignition since 2001. When the Saturn Ion was still in development, a service technician discovered that the ignition switch turned off very easily. There were design changes, which presumably, “solved the problem.” However, in 2003, a technician noticed a car’s ignition stop while driving. Ostensibly, a heavy key ring was responsible for wearing down the switch; and so, it was changed, and the matter considered resolved. It is clear that they were some issues with the redesigns, possibly cost-cutting measures, which rendered them ineffective.
The auto manufacturer, in 20014, discovered that the ignition switch in a ’05 Chevrolet Cobalt could turn off when the driver hit a bump while driving, consequently shutting off the engine. The safety agency got over 260 complaints since 2003 regarding the recalled GM car models.
Filing a GM recall lawsuit against a vehicle manufacturer due to defective products is a complex procedure. For one, a victim of GM ignition problems must prove that the fault in the car was the cause of the accident and that the injuries suffered were a direct result of that crash. For a layperson, all these may seem impossible to achieve. It is even worse when your accident is not a recent one. However, some legal practitioners deal specifically with these types of cases. Such a GM recall attorney will know which information to collect and how to do it. Elements such as witness statements, police reports, and accounts from first responders can be very helpful in such a situation. Some GM vehicles have event data recorders that may prove useful in such cases. A car owner can request to have the report of those boxes. Law firms have the resources such as lawyers handling GM cases to dedicate to this kind of work.
Another fundamental is the type of compensation to ask for. For example, if a driver crashed in their 2000-2014 Chevrolet Impala with a bad ignition and died, then the case would be for wrongful death. The settlement in such an instance would have to be to the dependents of the victim of the faulty GM ignition switches and their spouses, and children if they had some. If a victim suffered permanent injuries, then compensation has to include loss of past and future earnings, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and medical expenses among others.
Determining the size of settlement to ask for when filing a lawsuit is not entirely straightforward because nothing that can be done to return the victim to the way they were. The point of compensation is to ease the suffering. Ignition switch lawyers have different formulas for calculating settlement, so it is wise to heed their advice. Note that attorneys that sue GM and who handle personal injury cases work on a contingency basis. It means that the client does not pay until after the settlement is paid. The GM recall lawyer gets a fraction of the amount, which is usually 30 percent.
The defective GM vehicles have caused a lot of suffering for many people. Even after the recall, there are still people dealing with the aftermath. For anyone who believes they qualify as victims in this safety nightmare, then they can work with a GM recall lawyer to pursue compensation.