The original lawsuit which triggered the investigation and subsequent exposure of General Motors failure to disclose the deadly defect in its ignition switches has ended in a settlement between the plaintiffs and the car manufacturer. This is the second time the case has been settled. The amount of the settlement will remain undisclosed.
There have been 379 people killed in car crashes attributed to the defective switches and over 100 more injured. There are currently more than 4,000 claims that have been filed against GM awaiting review.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, parents of a 29-year-old nurse who was killed in 2010 in a car crash in Atlanta, GA. Their daughter was killed when the ignition switch in the vehicle she was driving – a Chevrolet Cobalt – slipped off. This shut down the vehicle’s engine, causing a loss of the power steering and brakes, as well as disabling the airbags. The victim’s car slammed into another vehicle.
The parents originally settled their lawsuit with the GM for $5 million in 2013. However, last spring, they refiled their lawsuit after documents were made public which revealed that an engineer at GM instructed the company which manufactured the switches to alter the design to make it more difficult to shut them off. These changes were made without updating the part number of the device, which raised red flags to investigators the plaintiffs had hired of a potential cover-up by GM.
Subsequent investigations led to a $35 million fine against GM by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as a possibility of criminal charges being filed by the U.S. Justice Department. The DOJ’s investigation is still pending.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by a defective product, contact an experienced Virginia wrongful death attorney to find out what legal action you may be able to take against the manufacturer for your family’s pain and loss.