Over the course of the last few years, General Motors has recalled over 26 million vehicles, spanning over 55 models. This series of recalls, the largest in U.S. history, covers all but three of GM’s main vehicle models. Many of the vehicles that were recalled had serious problems with the ignition switch. Indeed, it is difficult to gauge exactly how many deaths have been caused by the ignition switch problem, but by most estimates the number is well over 100.
What makes this recall extraordinary is not just the volume of vehicles recalled but also the fact that there is evidence suggesting GM knew about the dangers of the ignition switches but failed to do anything. This has led to a series of personal injury cases that, according to GM’s own estimates, will cost the company about $2.5 billion. It cost the company so much, in fact, that GM actually entered a form of bankruptcy.
According to a recent news article covering the bankruptcy, under an appellate court’s decision, accident victims’ claims against the “new” GM may be viable despite GM’s assertion that the claims dissolved along with the “old” GM. The court had to decide several important questions of law, just one of which was: what happens to the claims filed by all those people who were injured by faulty ignition switches? Should those claims be dismissed because the corporation that manufactured the vehicle is technically no longer in existence? Or should the claims be able to be asserted against the new GM corporation?
The court determined that since there was evidence that GM concealed information from the public about the dangerousness of the ignition switches in its vehicles, those injured in accidents related to the switches should still be able to pursue their claims against the “new” GM. This decision could have a massive effect on the number of cases that the auto-manufacturing giant will face in the near future.
Product Liability Cases in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
The claims being filed against GM are based on the theory of product liability. At its core, the theory of product liability holds manufacturers, distributors, and even retailers responsible for dangerous products or products that do not function as they are intended to function. It is important to keep in mind that this area of law is extremely complex and is best navigated by an attorney experienced in such matters.
Have You Been Injured in a GM Vehicle?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured due to a malfunctioning vehicle, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a product liability lawsuit. The skilled product liability attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of combined experience representing clients in all kinds of car accident cases. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case and to go over the options you may have moving forward.
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Court Finds “Public Duty” Doctrine Applies, Preventing Government Liability in Boating Accident, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 12, 2016.
Court Finds Deceased Skateboarder Assumed the Risk of Injury, Preventing Family from Seeking Compensation, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 15, 2016.