On Wednesday, July 19th, a New York federal jury cleared GM of liability in a bellwether case involving an Arizona driver who rear-ended another driver on March 27th, 2014. One of six bellwether trials revolving around faulty GM ignition switches, this is only the second to be fully finished.
The first of the GM bellwether trials to be finished wrapped up in March with a jury determining that, while GM vehicles were “unreasonably dangerous,” there was no link between the plaintiffs’ injuries and their particular vehicle. Three of the remaining bellwether trials have been settled out of court. Two have been dropped entirely.
While it may seem like a win for GM to have this case decided in the company’s favor, there are still approximately 1,700 personal injury and wrongful death claims pending against the vehicle manufacturer. In June of 2015, GM signed a deferred-prosecution agreement with the DOJ and paid $900 million in fines. This agreement and all related fines were to settle criminal charges brought against the company for concealing known parts defects and continuing to manufacture deadly vehicles despite this knowledge.
GM paid fines and signed a deal to avoid criminal prosecution of its Top Brass. However, deferred criminal charges do not have any bearing on liability in civil cases. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an accident caused by a defective vehicle, airbag, or other component parts, you are entitled to compensation for all of your damages. The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance are here to help. Call us at 404-760-7400 to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
A Brief History of GM’s Ignition Switch Recall
The first recall involving defective ignition switches came on February 7th, 2014 and involved what is now known to be an incredibly small number of vehicles – 800,000 at the time. By April 1st of that same year, the recall had grown to include 6.26 million vehicles. A scant month later and that number had more than doubled, reaching 12.8 million vehicles in total.
There are approximately 30 million vehicles currently involved in this recall. 124 deaths have been linked to the problem and these faulty ignition switches may have contributed to tens of thousands of auto accidents over the past three years.
GM knew of the problems months before issuing a recall. This prompted the DOJ to open the criminal investigation that was settled with the aforementioned $900 million in fines. However, what some view as gross disregard for human safety and the placing of corporate profits above the lives of everyone on the road still demands justice. That justice is being served through the thousands of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits the company is now facing.
You Have Rights
When you are injured or a loved one’s life is stolen by a corporation that believes its financial growth is more important than protecting consumers, you are entitled to hold that company accountable for all related damages. The defective vehicle attorneys at our Atlanta law firm have never backed down to powerful interests and we are not afraid to hold those responsible for your injuries accountable for their negligent behavior and reckless disregard.
Please call Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance at 404-760-7400 to schedule a free consultation today. We welcome clients living in and around Atlanta, including the communities of Savannah, Columbus, Decatur, and Augusta.