Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) May 8, 2014 – It took eight years for GM to recall faulty cars that they knew caused deaths.
“This case is disturbing for many reasons, but the main one is the apparent lack of corporate integrity and ethics on the part of GM,” says Brooks Schuelke, an Austin auto accident lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP. “The company did not institute a recall of several vehicles with faulty ignition switches for numerous years, despite being aware of the issue.”
In one case, that attorney Schuelke is not involved in, two young girls were driving a 2005 Chevy Cobalt (one of the models that has now been recalled), when it lost all power and crashed into a stand of trees. The 15-year-old passenger died four hours later. The driver remained alive for 11-days, in a deep coma, prior to her death.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), who already had several complaints about ignition switch issues in its database, the car swerved off the road while travelling 71 mph, leapt a driveway and launched into the air, covering 59 feet before sideswiping a utility box and crashing in to several trees at roughly 55 mph. It turns out the car’s data recorder captured what happened prior to the fatal crash. It showed the ignition switch was in the “accessory position” and not in the “run” position. Additionally, air bags were not deployed.
“Shockingly, it also came to light that in 2004 a GM engineer noted the ignition switch issue, suggesting several solutions. None of those solutions were implemented and GM started selling the Cobalt in 2005,” says Schuelke.
Eight years ago, GM apparently became aware of ignition switches failing. It was not until March 2014 that 1.62 million affected vehicles were recalled. The company stated the failed switches killed 13 and caused 31 crashes. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding hearings on this situation soon.
Federal safety officials have ordered GM to explain why it took eight years to recall their vehicles and demand answers to 107 very specific questions, answered under oath, about why they did not fix the switches when they first learned about them.
GM has been heard to say they did not have a “robust enough investigation” relating to the switches prior to the recall. “Their lack of comprehension and negligence in proceeding to sell defective vehicles is egregious,” Schuelke points out. GM is responsible for safety recalls and repairs no matter when one of their products was made, a detail relating to the fact they just emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 and thus would not be liable for claims for accidents before July 2009.
Recalled vehicles are: 2007 Saturn Sky and Pontiac G5 models; 2003-07 Saturn Ions; 2006-07 Chevrolet HHRs and Pontiac Solstices; and Chevrolet Cobalts from the 2005-07 model years.
“If you have lost someone in an accident involving a vehicle with a faulty ignition switch, seek experienced legal counsel to ensure you obtain appropriate compensation,” suggests Schuelke.
Learn more at http://www.civtrial.com
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
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