Car owners in Minnesota may have heard about the massive recall of General Motors vehicles that took place in February 2014. Faulty ignition switches in the cars have been blamed for causing 169 deaths and hundreds of injuries. Now, a judge has ruled that victims may file claims damages from GM.
GM was previously shielded from lawsuits involving the faulty ignition switches due to a technicality involving its emergence from bankruptcy. When GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, it essentially became a new company called ‘New GM.” New GM was immune from any of the liabilities attached to ‘Old GM.” However, a federal bankruptcy judge has recently decided that New GM is liable for intentionally hiding information that was passed to it from Old GM.
The faulty ignition switches on GM vehicles can cause car engines to suddenly shut off while the brakes, steering and airbags are disabled as well. GM has admitted that it knew about the problem for 10 years before the recall was announced. Around 250 personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that are pending against GM may now be heard by juries. Lawyers for plaintiffs who were injured by GM must present evidence that New GM employees had knowledge of the ignition switch problem.
A person may file an auto product liability claim against GM if they were injured in an accident or a close family member was killed in an accident involving a faulty ignition switch. If a person owns a GM vehicle that declined in value because of the recall, they may be able to seek financial compensation for their monetary losses.