In February 2014, General Motors notified the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) of a voluntary recall of several models of GM vehicles related to an ignition switch product defect. The NHTSA classified the recall as a serious safety issue given the fact that the ignition switch defect can cause the car to lose power and steering capabilities, even at high speeds. In March 2014 the voluntary recall was expanded to include newer model cars that might have been repaired with defective parts.
These recalled GM vehicles include:
All 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
2007-2010 Pontiac G5
2003-2007 Saturn Ion
2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
2007-2010 Saturn Sky
The NHTSA urged owners of these vehicles to get the vehicles repaired immediately given the safety concerns.
GM Ignition Switch Lawsuits and Settlements
As of May 1, 2015, GM processed settlements for 97 families of fatal car crash victims. Thousands of claims for deaths and injuries have been filed against GM, many of them still under review.
The defect in the ignition switches stemmed from insufficient tension, such that if they got shaken or jostled the vehicle could shut down, including disabling power steering, power brakes, and airbag deployment while the car is in motion. Although GM only started issuing recalls in February 2014, investigation into the ignition switch defect showed that as early as 2001, consumers had reported complaints to GM about the issue and that GM had notice there was a problem.
You and your loved ones may be overwhelmed by the prospect of taking on a major car manufacturer during this difficult time. Attorney Thomas Robenalt has 20 years of experience practicing law, and he knows how to gather the evidence, get the witness statements, and build the robust case necessary to take on a company like GM. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance for an ignition switch accident, call attorney Tom Robenalt today.
GM Ignition Defects — Deadly Crashes, Injured Victims
In March 2015, Georgia parents reached settlement with GM regarding a lawsuit filed for failure to disclose a deadly defect. In March 2010, 29-year-old pediatric nurse, Brooke Melton, was killed in a deadly car crash when the ignition slipped out of the “on”position, shutting the car off while she was driving. Investigations into GM found that GM knew of the problem for a decade but failed to properly address the defect. GM modified the switches after finding the defect but failed to issue recalls until 2014 and failed to timely disclose the defect in depositions and to government safety officials.
GM had already reached settlement with the families of 64 crash victims who died and with 108 people who were injured. This is the second time the Melton family had filed suit against GM. The Meltons had reached settlement in 2013 for $5 million, but filed suit again in May 2014 when they found that documents showed GM had modified switches but did not keep transparent records of it and failed to disclose it to the public and government officials.
At this point, GM has set aside at least $400 million in a compensation fund to cover damages. In addition, the NHTSA fined GM $35 million for its handling of the ignition failures, and GM may also be facing criminal charges after the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) completes its investigation into the matter.
Cleveland, Ohio, Product Liability Attorney Tom Robenalt Will Fight for You
If you are a loved one have been injured as a result of a sudden loss of power and steering capabilities as a result of a defective ignition switch failure, contact The Robenalt Law Firm for a free consultation at 216-223-7535. You will speak directly with Mr. Robenalt, a lawyer experienced in handling product liability claims. Product liability claims are subject to time limitations in the State of Ohio and thus you should call an experienced lawyer immediately.
The Robenalt Law Firm handles cases in Cleveland and throughout Ohio, and there is no fee unless we win your case.