When you purchase a vehicle or ride in a vehicle, you expect that vehicle to perform as it is supposed to perform. In most cases, that is exactly what happens. There are instances, however, in which malfunctions in the vehicle can lead to an accident. Sadly, some of these accidents lead to serious injury or death. Two Wisconsin families are suing General Motors for the death of their daughters.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the families alleges that a faulty ignition switch was to blame for the accident. GM has recently issued a recall on the vehicle the victims were in when they were involved in a fatal accident, along with other vehicles, for faulty ignition switches. GM’s chief executive officer says the faulty ignition switch is linked to 12 deaths. GM officials have stated that they knew about the problem with the ignition switches for more than a decade. Service bulletins were issued to dealers in 2005 and 2006, but no recall was issued then.
The fatal accident occurred in 2006 when the girl was with two of her friends. Her friend was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. As they were going down the road, the vehicle lost power, and the driver was unable to steer it. The car went airborne for almost 40 feet after hitting a raised driveway. It slammed into a telephone pole and two trees. The driver was seriously injured. The other two girls died from the accident. The first fatality came within five hours of the accident. The other girl was in coma for 11 days on life support before succumbing to her injuries. None of the girls was wearing seat belts, and the air bags didn’t deploy during the accident.
Because of the GM bankruptcy terms, the new GM isn’t liable for claims resulting from accidents that happened prior to the bankruptcy. This means that the families will have to get parts of the GM bankruptcy reopened to file a claim. This family has opted to start the process to seek that compensation. Understanding the process and making sure they know their rights might help them as they move through the legal system.
Source: Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, “General Motors recall spurs lawsuit over fatal 2006 Wisconsin accident” Gitte Laasby, Mar. 22, 2014