General Motors has been an American staple in the auto industry since it was founded in 1908. Since 1931, General Motors led global vehicle sales for 77 consecutive years—longer than any other carmaker. Unfortunately, in recent years, their success has come at a steep price—the price of consumer safety.
For over a decade, General Motors deliberately hid a known safety defect in many of their cars. That's 10 years of knowingly manufacturing and hiding a defect that put the lives of all their consumers at risk—and is currently implicated in more than 300 deaths. GM, however, has only publicly accepted 13 of those deaths. When the faulty ignition switch defect was finally exposed and the company under federal investigation, General Motors was forced to begin recalling their defective vehicles.
This year alone, General Motors has recalled more than 29 million cars in North America—surpassing the number of cars recalled by ALL carmakers last year. This number is only expected to increase throughout 2014.
When car companies put profits before people, lives are lost. GM knowingly put people at risk—to sell cars and that is unforgiveable. Injured GM car owners can—and should—hold GM accountable for their actions. Right now, injured car owners who have suffered because of GM's failure to recall a known car defect are filing lawsuits across the country to recover millions for their pain and suffering.
GM has issued several recalls for known product defects—the worst being their faulty ignition switch. This defect caused the car's engine to suddenly shut off while driving and the electrical system to disable the airbag. When an accident did occur, the airbag failed to deploy, causing severe injures to the vehicle's driver and passengers. Known injuries that have resulted from this GM ignition switch defect have included:
Severe car crashes from the GM ignition switch recall have even resulted in death to at least 13 people—with more than 300 accidents currently being investigated. GM executives put a price on those people's lives nearly a decade ago and decided that the risk of those deaths was worth more than fixing the defect or issuing a recall. The families that have been affected because of GM's negligence can seek retribution for their suffering and for the pain that has been inflicted upon them. Those who have suffered the most and whose injuries are severe will likely recoup millions.
Already, GM has been fined 35 million dollars for failing to make their public safety obligations and breaking the law. While this fine was historic and certainly unprecedented, it was not unfounded and meant to send a clear message to all carmakers that this type of deliberate dishonesty and disregard for public safety will NOT be tolerated.
In June 2014, GM decided to set up a victims compensation fund to compensate those who have been personally injured by the GM safety recall. Those injured GM accident victims who were killed or who suffered catastrophic injuries, such as burns or paralysis, would obviously receive more of the fund. A 10-year-old paraplegic, for example, would receive at least $7.8 million. Less severe injuries would receive less and would range from $20,000 for a single hospital night stay to a half million for those whose injuries were worse.
Injured GM recall accident victims and their families should know, however, that there is no cap set on the amount of money they can receive for their injuries. Just because there is a "predetermined" amount of money set for your injury in the GM fund, does not mean you should accept this as what you are owed. GM has set aside $2.5 billon to cover your injuries—and yet, this pales in comparison to how much they have made in the last 10 years risking your safety for sales profits. In fact, just the first quarter of 2014, GM has reported a net profit of $125 million.
Those who have been injured or families of those who have been killed by the GM ignition switch defect have rights to seek compensation for their pain and suffering. While no amount of compensation can ever undo the wrongs that have been done—victims and their families should not have to suffer further while negligent carmakers like GM are allowed to go unscathed. You have a right to hold these carmakers responsible for their actions and to ensure that your family is protected from further suffering.