Plaintiff’s Expert Finds GM Ignition Switch FlawSeptember 2, 2014
A recent report showed that the GM ignition switch flaw that spurred massive recalls and hundreds of lawsuits was not discovered by the automaker’s engineers or by a massive internal investigation. Instead, a plaintiff’s expert made the findings after examining two accident reports, The expert found that both reports highlighted the GM ignition switch flaw as the reason behind the failure of the car’s airbags to deploy.
Two Reports Examine GM Ignition Switch Flaw
The report from the plaintiff’s expert showed that two documents pointed to the GM ignition switch flaw as a contributing factor to several fatal accidents. A 2007 accident reconstruction report from the Wisconsin State Patrol showed that the airbags failed to deploy in a fatal collision. The WSP report also showed that the car’s ignition switch had moved to the “Accessory” position, which cut power to the airbags. A 2007 study at Indiana University also found the GM ignition switch flaw to be a component in the fatal accidents researchers were examining.
GM Ignition Switch Flaw Eludes Engineers
Although both the WSP and IU reports were available to the company’s engineers, they did not take steps to repair the GM ignition switch flaw until 2008. An internal report from the automaker showed that GM engineers replaced a part in the ignition switch to address the flaw, but recorded the new part under the same part number as the previous version, a major violation of company policy. The company was also reportedly unaware of the links between the GM ignition switch flaw and the airbag deployment issue until the plaintiff’s expert brought it to their attention in 2012.
GM Ignition Switch Flaw Ignites Recalls
The recalls stemming from the GM ignition switch flaw are expected to cost the auto giant at least $9 billion. While an internal report ties 13 deaths and 50 injuries to the airbag failure caused by the faulty ignition switch, hundreds of lawsuits attest that up to 100 deaths and hundreds of other injuries can be tied to the GM ignition switch flaw. With more than 3 million vehicles under recall, owners of the defective cars are also suing the company for the lost value of their purchases. With new parts for the defective switches unavailable until later this year, vehicle owners are sitting on cars that are too dangerous to drive and too disreputable to sell.
Source: Texas Lawyer (requires subscription)
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