A potentially fatal defect in the ignition switches of approximately 1.6 million GM cars sold in the United States has caused the auto manufacturer to issue a national recall announcement.
Studies show the defect in the faulty GM ignition switches could cause the the vehicle’s ignition setting to turn from “on” to “off” with slight bumps in the road or even if it is attached to a heavy key chain. When this occurs, the vehicles lose all power steering, power brakes and airbags stop functioning.
Recalled GM Cars Responsible for Fatal Accidents
While General Motors officials have claimed only about 12 deaths out of 22 crashes were related to the ignition switch defect, the latest review of federal crash data commissioned by the Center for Auto Safety reported after an examination of just two of the recalled models that 303 deaths are potentially attributable to this defect.
GM Cars Being Recalled
The following cars have been included in the General Motors recall due to faulty ignition switches:
- 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2005-2007 Pontiac G5
- 2003-2007 Saturn Ions
- 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice
- 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs
- 2006-2007 Saturn Sky
Despite Accidents, GM Failed to Recall Faulty Cars
It appears that General Motors was well aware of the faulty ignition defect in its cars for over a decade before it finally took action to recall the vehicles.
Recently, amidst congressional investigations and criminal probes, General Motors filed a document which indicated that they knew of an “issue with the Saturn Ion ignition switch” in 2001 during pre-production development. Earlier, GM had claimed that they discovered the defect in 2004.
Can the Current GM Be Held Accountable?
There is an active legal argument as to whether the current GM can technically be held liable for injuries and damages that occurred before 2009—when the company went through a much-publicized bankruptcy and government bailout. As part of that process, GM was provided with a liability shield for all claims prior to the date of the bankruptcy.
Lawyers on both sides dispute the impact this should have on the current ignition switch controversy, but this will be a closely-watched aspect of the case.
Know Your Rights
General Motors and other auto manufacturers have a legal responsibility to produce cars that are safe, and promptly fix any known safety defects. Damages in personal injury lawsuits against auto manufacturers for selling defective vehicles with safety flaws include:
- Past and future physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and physical impairment.
- Past and future medical, incidental and hospital expenses.
- Past and future loss of earnings and earning capacity.
- Punitive damages in cases of egregious misconduct.
If the driver or occupant was killed, surviving families members may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Contact Ashcraft & Gerel
Ashcraft & Gerel has successfully represented thousands of people across the United States who were injured as the result of faulty or defective products.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured or killed in an accident linked to a faulty GM ignition key or switch, please contact us online or call us toll-free at 800-829-7037 for a free, confidential consultation with our experienced automotive defect attorneys.