The last two faulty ignition switch cases against General Motors that were supposed to go to trial have been settled in a federal court in Manhattan. The cases were the last two to be heard as "bellwether" cases, which are used to determine settlement patterns for the rest of the wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits against the automaker.
The New York ignition switch trials, plus an additional one in Texas, have been helpful to GM. All of the lawsuits revolved around allegations that the defective ignition switch and related airbag failures were GM’s fault.
Previous Settlements Totaled Over $2 Billion
GM has already reached settlements with shareholders, thousands of consumers and the U.S. Justice Department that total over $2 billion. There is a penalty in that total of $900 million after the automaker admitted to misleading consumers and federal regulators about the switch and its history within the company.
A now-former U.S. attorney commissioned a report revealing that GM had known about the defective ignition switch for more than 10 years and didn’t issue a recall. Mary Barra, the company’s chief executive officer, fired 15 employees, including engineers and lawyers, and saw that safety processes were overhauled.
Not the Last Ignition Switch Cases
There are more bellwether cases scheduled for next year, including some that involve a different problem with GM vehicle ignitions. There are also claims remaining about the loss in resale value because of the automaker’s lapse in safety standards.
Some of the previous cases GM has faced this year have been problematic for the plaintiffs. The first case was dismissed. In March, a jury refused to rule that GM’s ignition switch was the cause of the accident and did not award any damages to the plaintiffs. The next case settled with GM. The fourth GM bellwether case was dismissed.
General Motors established a compensation fund of $600 million for victims, as well as settling the shareholder suit. Another $575 million was used to settle about 1,380 death and injury claims.
Did You Suffer Because of a GM Defective Ignition Switch?
When automakers manufacture and sell a vehicle with defective parts that cause injuries and death, they should be held liable. If you are such a victim, a local attorney experienced in defective product litigation can help.
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