General Motors Co. issued a recall of approximately 1.6 million compact cars in February, and some of these vehicles may be owned by Illinois drivers. The recall came after approximately 12 deaths were reported in 34 crashes involving vehicles in the recall. However, GM was apparently aware of an issue related to the recall in 2001. It did release a service bulletin about the issue to dealerships in 2005. GM may face financial liability in relation to the wrongful death claims of many individuals.
The automaker issued the recall due to a faulty ignition switch. The issue may have prevented the air bags in vehicles from deploying in an accident as they were intended to do, and this may have been linked to some deaths. While the automaker has been criticized for not taking prompt action to recall the vehicles sooner, a safety agency has also been criticized for not pressuring the automaker to recall the vehicles more quickly. Some of the vehicles affected by the recall are the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion and the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt.
GM has been urged to create a liability fund to compensate victims. However, because the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009, some of the victims may not be able to seek financial compensation through a lawsuit. The auto manufacturer and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may both be the subject of a criminal probe by Senate and House committees.
The NHTSA reports that as many as 30,000 people died in 2010 in motor vehicle accidents nationally. Individuals in Illinois who have been impacted by the negligent or intentional actions of other individuals or companies may seek financial compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit may compensate them for expenses such as medical bills, lost wages and other related costs. An Illinois personal injury lawyer may be able to help those who have been affected by informing victims of their rights and legal options.
Source: Reuters, “U.S. safety watchdog says 303 deaths linked to recalled GM cars“, Paul Lienert, March 13, 2014