Attorneys for General Motors have said that the company will face punitive damages if its customers go to trial over ignition switch defects, which has created an urgent need to settle lawsuits. GM allegedly knew of the problem with the defective switches for three years but did not fix it. At least 13 people have been killed in accidents involving the defective ignition switches. In many cases, the switches cause the cars to suddenly lose power, which can cause an accident. The airbags then fail to deploy because of the loss of power.
Last year, an adviser to GM advised the company of a substantial jury verdict in a case involving the defective switches, and the company settled the case for $5 million. In at least four other cases since 2010, outside lawyers warned GM of the large awards they would pay if a jury knew that the company did not fix an issue they had known about for years. Currently, GM is facing around 200 injury lawsuits related to the switches.
GM has recalled 2.59 million cars to fix defective ignition switches. They have also hired consultants to help operate a compensation plan for accident victims. They are also seeking to combine other lawsuits into class action cases, and are seeking to dismiss one case. These cases are expected to drag on for a while longer, while GM continues to repair the defective vehicles.
When a company chooses to put profits over customer safety, tragedy is often the result. GM knew of the defective switches, yet failed the take any action for years. The switches can be changed fairly inexpensively, but instead 13 people died and many more were injured. It's important that if you are injured in an accident due to a problem with a defective product, that you seek compensation. You may have lifelong injuries, but you only have a limited amount of time in which to sue.
Call the Houston automobile accident attorneys at Kennedy Hodges if you have been injured in an accident. We are eager to speak with you about your case. Call today to learn more at 713-489-9493 today.