GM Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over Ignition Switch Accident

GM Wrongful Death Suit

Written by Faith Anderson on July 11, 2014
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GM Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over Ignition Switch Accident

GM faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of a 23-year-old man who was killed last year in an accident caused by a defective ignition switch.

The family of a New York man has brought a wrongful death complaint against General Motors, alleging that a car accident involving a Chevy Cobalt was caused by the same ignition switch problem that has resulted in several million GM vehicles being recalled so far this year. The lawsuit was filed this week by Melinda Homer in the Supreme Court of New York for Monroe County, and comes amid increasing outrage about the failure of General Motors to warn consumers and federal regulators about the ignition switch problem affecting its vehicles. If you have been adversely affected by the ignition switch defect in GM vehicles, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with an experienced product liability lawyer today.

Ignition Switch Problems in GM Vehicles

According to the wrongful death suit, Homer’s son, 23-year-old Daniel Hollaert, Jr. was killed last December when his 2006 Chevy Cobalt was involved in an accident with a school bus. Hollaert reportedly lost control of his vehicle because the ignition switch moved into the “off” position during use, a problem that has, since February, resulted in the recall of several million vehicles manufactured by General Motors. According to police, Hollaert was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, and the 23-year-old died from severe head trauma. Four children also suffered injuries in the deadly car accident.

Vehicles With Faulty Ignition Switches Recalled

Just two months after Hollaert’s death, General Motors announced a recall of Chevy Cobalts and other GM-made vehicles due to ignition switch problems, which the car maker warned could cause the vehicles to suddenly turn off if heavy keychains are used, or if the ignition is jolted, such as may occur during a collision with another vehicle. According to the nationwide GM recall, the ignition switch defect may cause the engines in affected vehicles to suddenly stall, preventing the airbags from deploying in the event of a car accident.

General Motors Fined by NHTSA for Actions

Investigations into the ignition switch problem have since turned up alarming evidence that GM knew about the defect since at least 2002, but failed to warn car owners about the issue, a misstep that resulted in a $35 million fine by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “Indeed, rather than disclosing this serious safety problem that uniformly affected all Cobalts, GM, instead, concealed and obscured the problems, electing to wait until customers brought their cars to a dealership after an engine-stalling accident, and offered even its own dealers only an incomplete, incorrect, and insufficient description of the defects and the manner in which to actually remedy them,” the lawsuit claims.

Contact an Auto Defect Attorney for Help

Homer’s wrongful death lawsuit joins a growing number of complaints brought on behalf of GM car owners who suffered injuries or were killed in accidents involving recalled Chevy, Saturn, Pontiac and other vehicles affected by the ignition switch defect. In response to the growing litigation, General Motors is reportedly creating a settlement fund, and the company has indicated that it may provide financial compensation for wrongful death victims at a rate of approximately $1 million per claim, and $300,000 for spouses and dependents. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident involving a recalled GM vehicle, contact a knowledgeable auto defect lawyer today to discuss your possible compensation options.

Posted Under: Auto Products, Legal, News
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