GM’s Potential Liability In Accidents Involving The Faulty Ignition Switch

The subject of GM’s faulty ignition switch and belated recall has been widely publicized, for a variety of reasons.  Many different issues have arisen concerning this defective car part. For those unaware, the March 19, 2014 Bloomberg article titled “GM’s Barra Saying Sorry Seeks Seeks To Limit Fallout on Recall” provides a background concerning this faulty switch.

As one would expect, lawsuits are being filed regarding this faulty ignition switch and the accidents that have allegedly been caused by this switch. One such lawsuit is discussed in the NBC News article titled “Families in Wisconsin Crash That Killed Two Girls Sue GM” as well as the March 16 USA Today article titled “Lawsuit will test GM immunity for pre-2009 deaths.”

As discussed in the USA Today article mentioned above, as well as the Bloomberg BusinessWeek March 18, 2014 article titled “Will the Government Rescue GM Again?” one of the critical issues is whether GM will have legal immunity from accidents that happened prior to 2009 arising from this ignition switch defect. An excerpt from the USA Today article:

Their lawsuit could be the first test of GM’s legal immunity from liability for deaths or injuries in accidents that happened before the current company was created out of the government-supported bankruptcy in July 2009. It was left free of old claims and lawsuits and those remained with “old GM,” which holds assets and liabilities that did not go with the “new GM.”

Additional details on the immunity issue can be seen in the USA Today and Bloomberg BusinessWeek articles mentioned above.


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