The judge overseeing the ignition switch injury claims against General Motors (GM) recently expanded the injury guidelines for these lawsuits. The cases are expected to start going to trial in January 2016. Our team of auto recall lawyers will continue to update this blog as updates are released.
These new guidelines establish expanded injuries eligible for the personal injury and death claims against GM. Earlier in 2015 the judge formed three plaintiff categories: mild-to-moderate personal claims, severe personal injury, and wrongful death. All claims involve defective ignition switches and airbag non-deployment.
Currently, the judge is allowing claims concerning the following vehicles:
• Chevrolet Cobalt, 2005-2007 • Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2007 • Pontiac G5, 2007 • Pontiac Solstice, 2006-2007 • Saturn Ion, 2003-2007 • Saturn Sky, 2007
The judge originally asked the plaintiffs and GM to determine the vehicle types affected by the ignition switch defects, however, each side proposed different proposals. There are more than 4,000 claims pending against GM, including more than 55 deaths.
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As mentioned, the judge just established new guidelines for the three categories of injuries eligible for compensation. Now certain types of traumatic injuries will automatically be included in the “severe” category. These include: skeletal or bone fractures requiring surgery, specific brain injuries, second or third degree burns, paraplegia/quadriplegia, spinal injury requiring surgery, and nerve damage.
Plaintiffs recently submitted a list of about 60 GM employees that will be interviewed for the upcoming trials. The automaker has already paid out about $93 million in its ignition switch compensation fund.
Ignition switches in these 2003-2007 GM vehicles can easily move out of place, causing the engine to switch off unexpectedly, stalling the vehicle and disabling the airbags. This can occur at any point while driving, including on highways, in traffic, or during bad weather.
Of course, if air bags fail to deploy during an accident, the risk of very serious injury or death significantly increases. This defect was not made public knowledge until last year, several years after GM executives found out. Because of this massive cover-up GM is now facing a federal investigation, substantial fines, massive recalls, and injury lawsuits.
The above-mentioned victim compensation fund is being overseen by an attorney who was also responsible for massive disasters like the BP oil spill. GM is expected to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to victims injured either physically or economically by the defects.
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Auto recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are currently investigating cases of serious injury and death from car accidents. If you or someone you loved was involved in an accident, whether from a defective auto part or the negligence of another driver, contact our firm immediately. Our legal consultations are free and available to concerned patients nationwide.