In the last several weeks, we have written about faulty equipment in automobiles and how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can issue recalls and fines. However, discussing how individuals and families can receive injury and wrongful death compensation from negligent automakers is just as important.
One of the most recent examples of litigation against a major automaker can be observed in the case of General Motors (GM) and a faulty ignition switch that led to numerous accidents.
GM had several lawsuits brought against it for a faulty ignition switch that would cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle. One family brought a lawsuit against GM after their daughter died in a car accident due to the faulty piece of equipment. According to the family, their 29-year-old daughter died when the ignition switch for her Chevy Cobalt malfunctioned while driving, causing her to crash into a creek.
After an internal investigation, GM had concluded a faulty ignition switch caused the accident and that its engineers had known of the defect since 2005.
Can Victims of Unsafe Vehicle Part Injuries Receive Compensation?
To avoid public scrutiny and litigation, automakers who produce vehicles with faulty parts will often attempt to settle out of court with accident victims or their families. This scenario is exactly what has unfolded with GM setting up a claims fund. It is likely that GM did not want more lawsuits or bad press from the faulty ignition switch, so a decision was made to settle with accident victims.
Presently, GM has set up a $400 million claims fund to compensate victims of the defective ignition switch. GM has received 4,342 claims for injuries, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, and deaths related to the defective part.
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Did You Know? In 2014, there were more than 56 million recalls issued nationwide for vehicles and auto parts.