blog home Product Liability Death Count Rises to 67 in GM Ignition Switch Car Wrecks

Death Count Rises to 67 in GM Ignition Switch Car Wrecks

By Lependorf & Silverstein on April 7, 2015

New Jersey Auto Product LiabilityAt least 67 people have lost their lives in crashes caused by defective ignition switches in General Motors vehicles, and their families will receive compensation from the company, according to a recent report from CBS News.

Another 113 people who were injured in ignition-switch-related car wrecks will also receive compensation from General Motors, according to the report.

Before its deadline passed at the end of January, the company’s fund received 4,342 claims for relief. So far, the fund is reviewing 1,492 of those claims and has decided that 820 of them do not meet the criteria for compensation set out by the fund. The remaining claims were denied because they lacked sufficient documentation for the fund to make a decision, according to the attorney responsible for running the fund.

The defective ignition switches made national news in recent years when it came to light that GM has known about the problem in its Chevrolet Cobalt vehicles for many years, but issued a recall only in 2014. The defect in the switches means that they may slip out of the “on” position while the vehicle is in motion. If this happens, power to the engine, steering, and air bags may be cut. Serious injuries and deaths have resulted from the defect in a number of instances.

While recalls are underway, GM has reported additional problems in manufacturing enough replacement parts and in distributing them in sufficient numbers to dealerships tasked with fixing the vehicles owned by individual drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and experienced New Jersey auto product liability lawyers estimate that thousands of affected vehicles remain on the road without a fix.

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