Wednesday, October 21, 2015
General Motors Agrees to Settle Ignition Switch Allegations for Nearly $1 Billion
What is the latest with the General Motors ignition switch debacle?
Thousands of drivers across the United States have launched complaints against car manufacturer General Motors concerning its faulty and defective ignition switch components. While nearly 400 personal injury lawsuits remain outstanding – along with 84 tragic wrongful death actions – the company has recently settled most of the cases with 1,385 plaintiffs.The plaintiffs expect to split $900 million in settlement funds, depending on the extent of personal injury and property damage involved in the case. General Motors has not yet commented on the likelihood of settling the remaining 484 cases, as these may require greater inquiry or a more technical review.
Ignition switch dangers
The claims argue that General Motors knew – or should have known – its ignition switches were defective in several GM models. Drivers reported ignitions would inexplicably switch to the “accessory position,” which disabled the engine, power steering, brakes, and airbags. According to widely circulated reports, General Motors executives knew of these issues for years before finally initiating a recallin 2014. By that time, the ignition problems had been blamed in at least 124 deaths, and hundreds of other injuries.
In addition to the civil cases, General Motors remains under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, both of which recently engaged in a similar inquiry of Japanese automaker Toyota concerning its faulty and defective airbag systems.
While a great number of injury cases are considered settled by this milestone, dozens more await resolution and are scheduled for trials in 2016.