It is fairly easy to observe how much Americans rely on cars. Vehicles are so important to our way of life that we utilize them on a daily basis for work, school, errands, and leisure. Because they are so necessary in our lives, it is especially important that vehicles are safe to drive. This means it absolutely vital that manufacturers of vehicle use the utmost care in the design, assembly, and inspection of our vehicles. With vehicles being so high in volume throughout our country, when manufacturers are negligent in providing safe vehicles, this can easily lead to serious harm, such as death and injuries.
The International Business Times reported that a switch flaw in General Motors ignitions has caused 169 deaths. Recent personal injury settlements in civil class action lawsuits surrounding the flaw totaled over $575 million.
The report indicates that the switch flaw was in regards to small-car ignitions in particular, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and other small cars. The flaw causes the ignition to slip out of the “on” position, which cuts power to the vehicle’s engine, steering, brakes, and air bags. In addition to the 169 deaths, several hundred other people have suffered injuries due to this flaw. This resulted in a class-action lawsuit consisting of 1,385 clients.
Much of the litigation also stems from the fact that General Motors had knowledge of this issue, but volitionally did not reveal the danger to consumers, thereby continuing to unnecessarily expose people to danger and knowing they were at risk of death and injury. For two years, General Motors did not disclose this deadly safety defect to the public. Not disclosing a known danger to consumers of your product is a breach of a manufacturer’s legal duty of care.
Our attorneys understand that under product liability law, it is the duty of manufacturers and sellers to keep consumers safe from harmful product where the danger is known or could be discovered. This means that those responsible must inspect products, remove dangerous products from the stream of commerce, and warn consumers of known dangers. The results of this lawsuit show that General Motors failed in this regard, and breached their duty of care owed to hundreds of people.
Our Chicago-based law firm stands behind the belief that consumers should not have to fear the products they purchase could possibly cause them death, especially such serious goods like motor vehicles that can be especially dangerous when not carefully inspected and are used so often. Companies that recklessly and knowingly put consumers in danger, especially for such a lengthy time period where wrongs could be righted, can and should be held accountable under the law for the harms they cause. Through legal action, wrongdoers can be held liable for their actions, and through such punishment, lawsuits can set an example to prevent other future wrongs from occurring and other innocent people from being harmed.