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Profits Over Safety: GM Accused of Misleading Families about Wrongful Death and Personal Injury

Aside from litigating and otherwise representing clients in Massachusetts personal injury cases, we also represent clients in product liability cases. If you watch any degree of regular television programming, you see commercials for product liability attorneys. You tend to see these commercials targeting specific products because a case has developed, likely involving the revelation of some fact or occurrence which establishes that company management knew of the dangerousness of their product but decided to continue selling it without informing the public. Such seems to be the case with GM.

Recently, GM recalled 1.6 million vehicles, including Cobalts, due to defective ignition switches. This has been very much in the news because it comes just after Toyota was issued a $1.2 billion criminal penalty for its failure to inform its consumers of a defect in the vehicle. Essentially, after several incidences, including those resulting in personal injury and death, Toyota learned that there was a problem with its acceleration. You may recall discussion regarding the acceleration issues a few years ago when the issue first came to light. It certainly was of interest to us as personal injury lawyers. But, $1.2 billion is a tremendous figure. It is, at least arguably, designed to get all of our attention, including that of the rest of the car industry.

Back to the issue of GM's vehicles. The problem with the ignition switch, which has now come to light, is that while the vehicle is operating, the switch can turn to the off position, rendering in the airbags inoperative. This unfortunately has led to the personal injury and death of dozens of people. The shocking issue is that GM was apparently put on notice as to this defect numerous times. The model years affected are 2003 through 2007. An investigation by the New York Times has additionally identified that GM took the position of disclaiming liability repeatedly while settling death cases out with the families.

If you stay on top of economic news, you likely know about GM's bankruptcy and reorganization, which happened just a few years ago. Under the bankruptcy agreement the company avoided any liability for car accidents that occurred before July 10, 2009. So, even though GM acknowledges that it is itself in possession of evidence of 12 death cases related to faulty ignition switch, all such cases occurred prior to that cutoff date, thereby doing away with any liability.

Although it appears GM did take a cooperative approach--at least that's the way the company is currently posturing--it is yet to be seen how families of those who lost their lives or sustained an injury as a result of the defective cars will be treated and compensated. If you have sustained damages or are the family member of someone who has lost his or her life as a result of a defective vehicle, speak with acompetent experienced personal injury lawyer at your earliest opportunity. Defective product litigation is more complex than your average car accident case, so we encourage you to do your research before deciding on the right personal injury lawyer.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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