General Motors issued recalls relating to defective ignition switches in several of its models of sedans during 2014. It was recently reported that, after an investigation, the U.S. Justice Department has now accused GM of criminal wrongdoing. The company’s reported failure to act timely led to multiple fatalities and severe injuries that may also include victims in New Jersey.
Upon completion of the investigations, some of the former employees of GM may reportedly also face criminal charges. It is alleged that several employees were aware of the defect and were part of the ploy to cover it up. Some employees apparently reported that they were aware of the defect as far back as 2001. The defect of the ignition switch allowed the key to move, cutting power to the engine and causing deactivation of the power brakes, power steering and airbags. All this could happen while the vehicle is in motion and the driver is unaware of the danger.
Up to May 15 of this year, 104 fatalities and 191 injuries have been reported to GM — all related to the ignition defect. Included in the number of injuries are some which were catastrophic and left victims with brain injuries and/or amputations. In addition to the confirmed cases, more than 400 other claims are being reviewed, including 26 deaths and 417 injuries. Claims are being evaluated, and compensation for approved settlements is expected to be about $1 million for each death, and up to $500,000 per injury, with a higher amount for life-altering injuries.
New Jersey residents who have suffered severe injuries or lost loved ones in accidents that were caused by an auto defect are entitled to pursue financial compensation for medical expenses and other monetary losses. However, taking on corporate auto manufacturers and obtaining the necessary evidence to proof of negligence may appear to be a daunting task. Fortunately, victims — or surviving family members of deceased victims — will not have to battle this on their own. Experienced attorneys who focus on auto defect claims will protect the rights of victims and guide them through any legal proceedings.
Source: ibtimes.com, “GM Could Be Held Criminally Liable For Ignition Switch Flaw And Pay A Record Penalty For Not Disclosing The Problem Sooner“, Angelo Young, May 22, 2015