Supreme Court Opens Door To Additional Injury Claims against General Motors
The headaches (and lawsuits) aren’t yet over for General Motors (GM), as the company still faces many personal injury and wrongful death claims as a result of fallout over its faulty ignition switches. The defect plagued its cars (and customers) for almost a decade, leading to massive recalls and over 100 deaths.
Most of the accidents involved the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion models that GM produced in 2002 and 2003, when the switch turned off on its own, leaving the car without any power and disabling the airbags. The company’s engineers reportedly knew of the problems with the switch, however, the company chose to remain quiet, failing to recall any vehicles until it went through bankruptcy in 2009, after an increasing number of fatal crashes as a result of the defect. The 2014 recall led to more than 2.5 million small cars linked to hundreds of injuries and deaths being recalled.
Class Action Lawsuits & Compensation Funds
In 2015, GM paid $575 million to settle close to 1,400 ignition switch injury and death claims, in addition to facing a shareholder class action lawsuit. The company also GM established a $595 million compensation fund to make payments to approximately 100 affected claimants and paid $900 million to settle a federal criminal investigation.
However, GM argued that its bankruptcy filing in 2009 erased any liability prior to the bankruptcy filing. In response, in late April, the United States Supreme Court declined to review a lower-court ruling that pre-bankruptcy claims could proceed, indicating that the many remaining 1,000 or more claims against GM are free to go to trial (unless of course the company chooses to settle those claims).
Moving Forward With Claims
At this point, any plaintiffs wishing to file a claim against GM for injuries or deaths related to the faulty ignition switch prior to the bankruptcy filing will need to work with experienced personal injury attorneys in order to establish their right to claims and prove that those claims have merit (in addition to proving that the defective switch caused the accident in which the victim was injured or killed).
Experienced Personal Injury & Products Liability Attorneys
If you are bringing a personal injury claim against a large, powerful company like GM, you need to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan can help work with you to ensure that you and your family are made whole again if your accident has been caused by defective vehicle parts from the manufacturer or retailer of the vehicle or part that caused their accident. To discuss your options, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Boca Raton attorneys.