A faulty ignition switch in certain Chevrolet Cobalts and other small General Motors (GM) cars is known to have caused at least 124 deaths and over 300 injuries beginning in the early 2000s. In 2014, the company recalled more than 26 million vehicles.
On September 17, 2015, GM announced that it had settled approximately 1,380 individual death and personal injury claims related to 2014 recalls, including the ignition switch recall. According to GM, this settlement will result in a $575 million third quarter charge in 2015. The company also agreed, the same day, to pay a federal fine of $900 million financial penalty in order to terminate a US Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the ignition switch issue. According to a deferred prosecution agreement, the DOJ will have the case dismissed if GM complies with the deal’s terms, including independent monitoring of the car maker for at least three years.
GM has already accepted the findings of an independent 2014 report, confirming that the carmaker knew about the fatal defect for more than ten years before issuing the recall, and has issued a public apology.
According to the New York Times, 2014 was a record year for auto recalls. In the United States, over 62 million vehicles — the highest total ever — were recalled. Another extensive and recently publicized auto defects involved the sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) of Toyota vehicles, which caused cars to speed up even when the driver did not press the accelerator pedal, and prevented slowing or stopping the car by braking.
The above settlements in the GM case are not the end of the story. There are still more than 400 injury and death cases set to go to trial beginning in early 2016.
Who Is Responsible for a Defective Product?
When flaws in the design, production, or marketing of a product cause consumer loss, injury or death, a product liability lawsuit can help the victim or survivors obtain the compensation they deserve. There may be multiple legal bases for recovery, and more than one party in the “production chain” may be held liable, including the product’s
Because of this complexity, if you have been injured by a defective product, it is essential that you consult an experienced Las Vegas product liability attorney.
The personal injury attorneys at Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen have counseled and secured compensation for numerous victims of defective products, including auto parts. We can evaluate your case to determine the best way to protect your interests in a product liability lawsuit.