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GM Recalls 775,000 Vehicles Related to an Ignition Defect Linked to Six Fatalities

March 18, 2014

Our Georgia Vehicle Defect Attorneys at Montlick and Associates are committed to promoting vehicle safety to prevent accidents that cause injuries and fatalities in Atlanta and throughout our state. As part of our commitment to reducing the number of serious accidents, we want to alert owners of certain GM vehicles of a faulty ignition switch according to a recent USA Today report.

Although many vehicle defects that lead to recalls are not linked to accidents, let alone injuries or fatalities, the vehicles subject to this recall have been associated with six deaths. There also have been other vehicle recalls in recent years linked to fatal accidents, such as the recall by Jeep last year, a 2010 recall by Toyota for sudden acceleration accidents and a Honda recall of vehicles with defective airbags.

The manufacturer has recalled 775,562 Chevrolet Cobalts with model years from 2005 through 2007, and Pontiac G5s with a model year of 2007. GM reports the ignition switches can suddenly turn off and/or many of the electrical systems can stop responding when the vehicle is jarred. The engine and electrical system also might shutdown when a heavy keychain pulls the ignition into the off or accessory position. When the problem occurs, the vehicle may lose power steering and braking assistance or experience an engine stall increasing the risk of a collision. Further, the ignition defect may also prevent the airbags from deploying so that vehicle occupants suffer more severe injuries according to the report.

While the vehicles included in the recall are no longer manufactured, GM has reported that they have received 22 reports of collisions linked to the ignition problem in the recalled vehicle models. Because the vehicles have not been manufactured for a number of years, the vehicle maker may have difficulty tracking down the vehicles subject to the recall because they are in the hands of second or third owners. While GM acknowledges six fatalities in vehicles subject to the recall where the front airbags did not deploy, GM contends that other factors created a high likelihood that the collisions would result in serious injury or fatality. All of the collisions reportedly occurred at a high rate of speed and alcohol was a factor in three of the crashes resulting in a fatality.

Even if alcohol or speed are factors in a fatal accident, this does not necessarily insulate GM from potential liability if the defective ignitions are a contributing cause of a collision or play a role in vehicle occupants suffering more serious injuries. If you or a family member has been involved in a collision involving a defective vehicle or component, the carmaker may be financially responsible even if the negligence of the other driver also was a factor in causing the accident. Car accident claims that involve vehicle defects typically require investigation and analysis by accident reconstruction experts, vehicle engineering experts and others to identify the defect and explain its role in causing the collision. Our Atlanta Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates work with such experts when appropriate so that we can develop a compelling case for our clients.

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Category: Auto Accidents

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