The General Motors ignition switch scandal has been going on for months now, but shows no signs of slowing down. Back in April we wrote in our RI Personal Injury Law blog about the massive GM recall from this defect. The Wall Street Journal now reports that a set of emails, not previously disclosed, shows GM placing an “urgent” order for 500,000 replacement ignition switches in December 2013, nearly two months before it notified regulatory authorities that a recall was necessary.
This delay in disclosing known information to regulators and the public is just another scar on GM’s public image. Federal regulators have similarly come under fire from legislators investigating the scandal. A Congressional report released in September gave scathing criticisms of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s failure to understand the severity of the ignition switch defect for years. In response, the NHTSA said, “GM withheld information and hindered NHTSA’s efforts every step of the way, including changing a defective part without informing the agency, which caused the number of complaints to decrease.”
GM issued 45 recalls in 2014, including 25 million vehicles in the United States (a full list of years, makes and models is at GMIgnitionUpdate.com). GM has set aside over $400 million for a compensation fund that has generated 1851 claims as of November 7th. The fund — overseen by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who also served as Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund — now reports 32 deaths and 35 serious injuries from the ignition switch defect.
Any driver, passenger, pedestrian or occupant of another vehicle that suffered injuries or had a family member that was killed linked to an ignition switch related crash can file a claim before the end of the year. If you have personal injuries resulting from an ignition switch problem, contact our RI personal injury law firm today.