A class action products liability suit has been filed against GM over ignition switch deaths and injuries.
General Motors was named as the defendant in a lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Manhattan. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of 658 individuals allegedly injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents in which cars recalled for defective ignition switches were involved. Numerous cases filed against GM over faulty ignition switches have been previously consolidated in the same court.
Since early 2014, almost 15 million GM motor vehicles have been subject to recall worldwide as a result of the defective ignition switches. A program designed to compensate those who suffered in accidents involved recalled motor vehicles was set up by GM. The compensation program is administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg. Although many sources believe the number to be significantly higher, GM acknowledges that 54 accidents and 13 deaths have been associated with the faulty ignition switches. Most of the 2.6 million cars initially recalled and included in the compensation program are Cobalts, Ions and other small GM vehicles.
According to the attorney who filed the products liability suit this week, the claims included in the lawsuit were not eligible for the compensation program. The accidents included in the lawsuit involve vehicles that were not subject to the original ignition switch recall and accidents in which the vehicle’s airbags deployed. Attorney Feinberg stated that non-deployment of airbags is an indication that the ignition switch did not work properly.
GM spokesman Jim Cain had no comment on the newly filed lawsuit. Cain indicated that Attorney Feinberg established the criteria for claims submitted under the compensation program. Cain said that GM had not established a limit on what eligible claimants would be paid under the program. “It’s our goal to treat people fairly and with compassion throughout the process,” he said.
Also included in the New York lawsuit are plaintiffs who would be entitled to less than “fair” value for their claims. Under the criteria established by Feinberg, an injured person who was hospitalized for only one night would receive $20,000.
All accidents included in the lawsuit occurred after July 2009 – when GM exited bankruptcy. “New GM” which is a different legal entity from the GM entity that filed for bankruptcy protection, is not responsible for claims involving crashes that occurred before July 2009. GM has requested a ruling by the bankruptcy judge as to whether claims for the defective ignition switches are barred.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident which you believe was caused by a defect subject to recall, contact the Ohio product liability attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.