GM Issues Recall After 31 Auto Accidents and 13 Deaths
When vehicles and other products cause harm because of a manufacturer’s defect or poor design, it may be possible to recover any damages incurred through a personal injury lawsuit. Recently, General Motors (GM) has come under scrutiny for its role in a string of automobile accidents across the U.S. So far, 13 people have died in 31 accidents caused by faulty ignition switches. When similar crashes cause injury and death, the experience can be difficult to handle alone, but a car accident attorney in Orlando can make the process easy and stress free.
GM Faces Federal Investigation
GM will soon be under investigation over the circumstances that led to 31 auto accidents involving the following vehicle makes: Chevrolet, Opei, Pontiac and Saturn. Each of the accidents was traced back to faulty ignition switches that have been installed in more than 1.6 million GM vehicles over the last decade, and company executives have known about the problem for most of this time.
GM did nothing to fix or replace the ignition switches that caused 13 deaths until an initial recall of 619,000 vehicles was issued on February 13, 2014. Before the month was over, the recall expanded to include an additional 842,000 vehicles distributed throughout the world.
After the recall was issued, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made the decision to go through with an official investigation aimed at determining whether GM delayed taking action on the dangerously defective switches. If the NHTSA determines that GM violated the law, the company could be fined up to $35 million.
GM Fears Loss of Business
The recall announced by GM seems to be fueled by the impending federal investigation and a fear of losing business. One former NHTSA administrator has already said that the recall was nothing more than “a desperate move on their part to avoid heavy penalties.” She went on to say that the recall came too late and apologies are not sufficient to correct the damage that has been done.
In 2009, Toyota issued a similar recall after several accidents occurred because of faulty acceleration systems, and the company subsequently suffered a drastic loss of revenue because of low consumer confidence.
It appears that GM cannot avoid a financial backlash over the situation, and a spokesperson has already claimed some degree of responsibility when a public statement was issued saying that GM was “deeply sorry” over how the situation was handled. Alan Batey, president of GM North America, also said, “The process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been.”
Problem Known Since 2004
GM has already made several official statements to the NHTSA, including saying that company officials know all of the auto accidents occurred when the ignition switches moved out of the run position. This subsequently prevented the airbags from deploying and protecting the passengers.
A report filed by GM stated that the company knew of the problem with the ignition switches since 2004, and testing engineers were able to replicate the accidents in controlled laboratory conditions. However, no action was taken because the cost and effectiveness of any solutions was questionable.
At least one victim has already received a settlement from GM with the help of attorneys. If you are in Florida and have faced a similar situation, call an experienced Auto accident attorney in Orlando today or fill out our free case evaluation form and one of experienced personal injury attorneys will get back with you.