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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

GM Ignition Switch Lawsuits Set for Trial

What is the latest news regarding the General Motors ignition switch debacle?

As you may recall, 2015 was a tough year for a number of domestic and foreign automakers. With recalls at historic highs – and drivers’ trust slowly diminishing – brands from GM to Volkswagen have worked overtime to mitigate the damage caused by faulty (and in some cases, fraudulent) parts and components. During this time, General Motors began preparing for the onslaught of lawsuits to be filed against it regarding faulty ignition switches – all of which are scheduled to reach an apex with trials slated to begin later this month.

Beginning over 10 years ago, General Motors was allegedly made aware of problematic ignition switches in several of its compact and smaller models. The problem was, the company did not take any steps to rectify the situation until 2014, at which point it initiated an unprecedented recall of affected models. To further confound the issue, thousands of drivers had already experienced injuries or – in some cases – death due to the faulty switches.

According to the details of the personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, ignition switches would become unknowingly lodged in the “off” position, causing the vehicle to stall, airbags to malfunction, and power steering to fail. As a result, 124 deaths and 275 injuries were reported to the company – and it has since paid out over $600 million in settlement funds.

Nonetheless, several additional cases remain to be resolved, with the first trial set to commence on January 11, 2016. In that case, the plaintiff was severely and permanently injured after the airbags in his Saturn Ion failed to deploy when he struck two trees head-on. According to GM, the outcome of that trial will help guide the company toward determining appropriate settlement amounts for the remaining cases.

If you have been recently injured in an auto accident, you should discuss your options with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.

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