General Motors is facing several lawsuits concerning defective ignition switches in several models. The defect causes the engine to suddenly shut off, ultimately cutting off the car’s power while in motion.
Back in 2014, GM began recalling 2.6 million vehicles due to these ignition switch problems. Apparently, some GM insiders were aware of the problem as early as 2001, 13 years before the recall was issued. Affected drivers and their families are going after GM for personal injuries and wrongful deaths related to the defective ignition switches. As a result, GM has paid out nearly $7 billion in recall-related costs, but is fighting against the injury and death suits, claiming that the defective switches were not the cause of the crashes. To avoid unnecessary exposure, the automaker is also settling cases outside of court.
How Did the Ignition Switch Go Wrong?
When a driver starts the car, the ignition switch activates the vehicle’s electrical system. Normally, the ignition switch will remain in the “on” position when the car is running. However, in a defective ignition switch, the “detent plunger” part was made to improper specifications, allowing the switch to slip to the “ACC” position when the key is accidentally struck, or on rough terrain. At this point, the vehicle’s engine, power steering, anti-lock brake system, and airbags are disabled. It goes without saying that this can lead to extremely dangerous consequences: a driver can lose control of the vehicle and safety systems, including the airbag, can fail to function properly. Over 124 people were injured and 275 people were killed due to these defective switches.
Instead of issuing a recall right away in 2001, GM instead issued a “service bulletin” to its dealers in 2005. The automaker also withheld information from federal authorities that may have led to a recall much sooner. Ultimately, when GM issued the recall in 2014, the Department of Transportations issued a $35 million fine for failure to report a safety defect in a timely manner and, the Department of Justice issued a $900 million fine for concealing a potentially deadly defect. GM’s CEO responded by blaming the delayed recall on a “cost culture” and claimed the automaker was working hard to improve its safety culture. While GM paid $575 million to victims of ignition switch crashes via a compensation fund, less than 10% of people who made claims to the fund actually received payment.
What Can I Do if My GM is Equipped With a Defective Ignition Switch?
Ultimately, you may be eligible to file a GM ignition switch lawsuit if:
- You were injured in a crash involving a faulty GM ignition switch
- You lost a loved one in an ignition switch crash
- You own a vehicle with a defective ignition switch that depreciated in value as a result of the recall
- You did accept payment through the GM compensation fund
If you are driving a GM vehicle equipped with a potentially defective ignition switch, California’s lemon laws are here to protect you and prevent any further complications. The attorneys at CCA are very knowledgeable about the defective ignition switches in GM vehicles discussed above and will work with you to fight back against the automaker.
Please do not hesitate to call CCA today for a free consultation: (833) LEMON-FIRM. We’ll get you the compensation you deserve – and at no cost to you!