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GENERAL MOTORS CLAIMS

Auto Product Liability Lawyers Serving Charleston & All Of Central & Southern Illinois

Lawyers who are suing General Motors Co. (GM) have put in a request with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Washington to consolidate the lawsuits filed due to the faulty ignition switch.

With more than three million vehicles recalled, it is likely that the situation will result in a high volume of lawsuits filed in multiple jurisdictions. Currently, 15 lawsuits have been filed in federal courts by consumers who seek to represent other GM customers in class-action cases.

One lawyer is asking the judge to order General Motors to issue a “Park It Now” order which would urge owners to not drive their recalled vehicle until it has been repaired. The request also asks that GM pay for rental cars or provide loaner vehicles for all affected GM vehicle drivers.

Have you been injured or suffered the loss of a loved one in an accident that may have been caused by a defective GM part? You may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Spiros Law, P.C. is currently accepting inquiries on this issue and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your incident. We are offering free consultations to GM recall victims, and we only get paid when we win.

Don’t delay. Call our legal team today at (217) 516-3451. We serve Central and Southern Illinois from offices in Charleston, IL are standing by to offer our experienced insight.

Affected GM Makes & Models

In early February 2014, GM announced a massive recall that affected millions of vehicle owners in North America. Just weeks after the announcement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office launched a criminal investigation into the company’s handling

The initial February 10th announcement by GM affected approximately 619,122 makes and models while 3 days later, another 748,024 vehicles were withdrawn from the market.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), under certain conditions, the vehicle’s ignition switch could move out of the “run” position which could result in the loss of electrical power. The loss of such power could turn the engine off as well as other electronic components such as the airbags.

In fact, a faulty ignition switch has caused dozens of accidents and led to the deaths of 12 people; the number could increase once the investigation has been completed.

The following makes and models were affected:

Vehicle Make Model Model Years
Pontiac G5 2007
Pontiac Solstice 2006-2007
Chevrolet Cobalt 2005-2007
Chevrolet HHR 2006-2007
Saturn ION 2003-2007
Saturn Sky 2007

GM sent out customer communications to affected vehicle owners and said that repairs will be made for free. Additionally, the motor company is offering free loaner cars and a $500 allowance to owners who want to buy or lease a new GM vehicle.

However, according to the GM website, parts for fixing the issue may not be available until early April, leaving many drivers at risk of being injured.

GM Investigation Timeline

According to GM, approximately 22 auto accidents were linked to the defect, which led to 6 deaths.

As investigations into the matter continued, however, it has been revealed that a number of engineers, managers, and other staff at GM knew about the problem nearly a decade ago and many more victims were involved.

It has been speculated that due to the cost of correcting the issue, a calculated gamble was made by certain executives and employees and the automaker made the decision to continue using these defective components despite the collisions that they may cause.

The following is a basic timeline of these events:

  • 2001 – After testing the Saturn Ion, General Motors discovered that there was a problem with the ignition switch. The company says they made a design change in order to fix the issue.
  • 2003 – A service technician observed a vehicle unexpectedly stalling after the ignition switch had moved into the off position while driving.
  • 2004 – General Motors noted that if a driver bumps the ignition in a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, it could switch off and turn the engine down.
  • 2005 – A GM engineer suggests redesigning the key head, but the proposal is rejected. In July 2005, Amber Marie Rose dies after the airbag in her 2005 Chevy Cobalt failed to deploy; this is the first death tied to the defective ignition switch. In December 2005, GM issues a service bulletin that advises dealers about the problem, but they do not issue a recall.
  • 2007 – Safety regulators tell GM employees about the July 2005 accident, but they do not open a formal investigation. In April 2007, an investigator suggests to regulators that the fatal crash was linked to the ignition problem. Again, regulators fail to open an investigation. By the end of 200,7 GM is tracking the problem and discovers that 4 more crashes occurred when the engine was off, and airbags failed.
  • 2010 – Chevy discontinues the production of the Cobalt.
  • 2013 – GM determines that the faulty ignition switch was related to 31 crashes and 12 deaths.
  • 2014 – GM recalls more than 619,000 Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles; the recall is expanded 3 days later to cover all 1.36 million vehicles affected.

Less than one month after the initial recall was announced, the U.S Attorney’s Office announced that there will be a criminal investigation into the timeline and the company’s disclosures to regulators.

The consumer watchdog group, the Center for Auto Safety, performed their own study into hundreds of complaints involving the defective ignition switch in Saturn Ion and Chevy Cobalt vehicles and believe that more than 300 deaths were caused when the airbag failed.

Additional Defective GM Vehicles

On March 17, 2014, General Motors announced that they would be taking an additional 1.5 million cars off the market to fix dangerous defects.

More than 1.2 million crossover SUVs need wiring re-done as the airbags could fail to deploy; 64,000 full-size sedans have brakes that could overheat and cause a fire, and 303,000 vans need material on the instrument panel replaced as it could fail to protect passengers in an auto crash.

The following makes and models have been affected:

Vehicle Make Model Model Years
Buick Enclave 2008-2013
GMC Acadia 2008-2013
Chevrolet Traverse 2009-2013
Saturn Outlook 2008-2010
Cadillac XTS 2013-2014
Chevrolet Express 2009-2014
GMC Savana 2009-2014

According to GM, no injuries have been reported as a result of these defects. However, investigations into complaints made to the NHTSA note that there have been at least four collisions involving airbags that failed to deploy which lead to serious injuries.

How Can Our Lawyers Help You?

Consumers often investigate safety ratings for vehicles they are going to purchase. Unfortunately, when GM failed to report this vehicle defect and kept these dangerous vehicles on the market, they put consumers at risk. Although GM will be repairing affected vehicles, many victims and their families have still suffered as a result of the company’s inability to withdraw the dangerous vehicles sooner.

Did you know that according to the New York Times, since February 2003, there were more than 260 complaints involving the dangerous ignition switch?

If you have been injured in a crash that involved a GM vehicle that was affected by this recall, our experienced Illinois auto product liability attorneys are here to help. Spiros Law, P.C. can help anyone who has been affected by this situation, whether directly in an automotive accident or indirectly after the loss of a loved one. We can help investigate your claim and determine if you may be eligible to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of victims injured by large companies and corporations. We can retain top experts in product design and accident reconstruction to make a powerful case.

To learn more about how we can help you, call (217) 516-3451 or fill out our online contact form.