General Motors has been in the news a great deal lately after an investigation indicated that since 2001 the company has been aware of defects in some of their cars’ ignition switches. The defect can cause the car’s engine to stop, the electrical system to shut down, and the airbags to fail to deploy. Since 2001, this defect is believed to be the cause of 13 deaths and 31 accidents, according to an internal investigation by GM in 2013. This is 12 years after GM first knew of the problem. The first known death caused by the faulty ignition switch occurred in 2005, when 16-year-old Maryland teenager, Amber Rose, was killed. Her 2005 Chevy Cobalt suddenly turned off and her airbags failed to deploy when she crashed. However, GM is now forced to deal with the consequences of ignoring this problem.
Why Did GM Do Nothing?
When GM initially found out about this problem in 2001, business was not going well. A redesign of the faulty part was considered but ultimately rejected because of financial and time constraints. The company had identified the problem as being related to a small piece of the ignition system that had a poorly-designed spring, making it possible for a car to shut down if the key was in the wrong position. It was recommended that drivers remove anything unnecessary from their keychains, but the accidents and deaths continued to occur. Throughout the economically turbulent year of 2008, GM continued to avoid the problem, distracted with their filing for bankruptcy and attempting to obtain government assistance.
The Government Did Not Do Much Either
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had received multiple complaints about the defect and had considered launching investigations in 2007 and 2010, but decided to drop the issue both times. This may be due to the simple fact that the NHTSA is severely underfinanced and understaffed. According to a report from Bloomberg News, they have just 51 employees to oversee the safety of all US vehicles, and only half of these 51 employees are investigators. That means that there are 8.6 millions cars in the United States for each investigator to oversee.
If You Believe You Have Been the Victim of a Faulty Ignition Switch
Since last year, GM has recalled millions of cars, including Chevrolet Cobalts and HHRs, Pontiac G5s, Saturn Ions, various minivans, sedans, and SUVs. They estimate that this process will cost them around $300 million. They are also finally under investigation by the NHTSA and they have hired an attorney to help them deal with compensation for individuals and families affected by the ignition defect.
If you think that you are among those affected by a faulty ignition switch in your GM vehicle, you should have a lawyer at your side. Give Seth Gladstein a call at 502-791-9000 and he will help you receive compensation for any injuries or damages that occurred due to negligence on the part of General Motors.