Automaker General Motors has settled the last of the test cases over its faulty ignition switches. More than 124 deaths and nearly 300 injuries have been linked to the defective switches, which can slip out of place, stalling major systems and causing a crash.
GM received so many lawsuits over the faulty part that six test cases were set up to give the parties some idea of how juries would view the evidence against the company. However, the six test cases will provide only limited guidance, as one was dismissed, one was withdrawn, and three were settled without a trial. The only case that went to trial had mixed results. In that case, the jury found that the switch had malfunctioned; however, it also found that the defect did not cause the driver’s crash.
The defective switches were installed in the Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR, the Saturn ION and Sky, and the Pontiac G5 and Solstice. GM ultimately issued recalls for the faulty car part in 2014.
The core issue in the cases is the level of knowledge GM officials had about the problematic part. The company admits that it had some knowledge of the defect. If GM knew or should have known about the danger posed by the faulty switches, it could be subjected to major money damages in personal injury cases. GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, testified that she was not told about the problem until 2013, more than 10 years after others inside the company were aware of it.
In fact, the company has already paid out significantly:
• $575 million for shareholder and some personal injury claims;
• $900 million in a federal criminal investigation; and
• $595 million for hundreds of deaths and injuries.
If you or somebody you love has been injured due to a defective vehicle or vehicle part, contact the personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP at 888.777.1776 for a free case consultation. Drivers who irresponsibly endanger others and companies that make unsafe vehicles should be held accountable for their actions.