General Motors Recalling Nearly 780,000 Cars in North America

William E. Johnson
February 14, 2014

6 Deaths Attributable to Manufacturer Defect
           
At least six people have died because of accidents involving faulty ignition switches in GM compact cars, causing the automaker to recall 778,562 of its 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5 compacts. GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the ignition switch can fail when a key ring is "carrying added weight, or the vehicle goes off road, or experiences some other jarring event." In those cases, the switch could be "moved 

out of the 'run' position."
 
22 Car Accidents Attributable to Manufacturer Defect
            GM said that it knows of 22 accidents involving the faulty ignition switches. The large auto company told Reuters that it knows of 5 front-impact crashes and 6 fatalities in crashes where the front airbags did not deploy. The company said that all were high-speed car collisions that had a high probability of death or serious injury regardless of the switches, and that alcohol use and not wearing seat belts also played a role in some of the accidents. 
            More than 619,000 of the cars in the recall were sold in the United States, with another 153,000 in Canada and more than 6,000 in Mexico. All but 33,000 of the cars to be recalled are Cobalts. The Pontiac G5 is nearly identical to the Cobalt.
 
Expectation of Safety
            When you purchase a new car, truck or motorcycle, you expect it to run safely without breaking down for a considerable amount of time. For the most part, the law agrees with this assumption. Florida state law will hold car manufactures and car component manufactures responsible for defects in new vehicles, such as:
  • Vehicle roll-overs
  • Accelerator malfunction
  • Tire defects
  • Brake failure
  • Vehicle Fires

            Strict products liability lawsuits involving cars are similar to products liability lawsuits brought for defects of other types of consumer products. These types of lawsuits are often superior to lawsuits alleging negligence and breach of warranty because strict products liability lawsuits do not require the victim to prove that a contract existed or that the manufacturer violated their standard of care. To prove a case for strict products liability, 3 basic elements must be shown:

  1. The company being sued must have placed the product into the market as a manufacturer, member of the chain of distribution, or as a seller of the product. 
  2. The product had one of three problems: a design defect, manufacturing defect, or improper warning or instructions.
  3. The defect or failure to warn must have caused the injury as a result of use of the product in the manner that it was intended to be used for.
Negligent Design Lawyer
            The West Palm Beach car defect lawyers at the Law Offices of William E. Johnson, P.A. can help with you recover from negligent auto parts manufacturers and dealers. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 561-832-4848. We serve Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and all of South Florida.