Toll far exceeds the 13 victims GM stated last year as the only “known” fatalities. Why are we only hearing about this now?
The General Motors ignition switch recall continues to make headlines.
And the news is only getting more grim.
The auto maker’s compensation fund said it has approved the 100th ignition switch death claim, according to a recent story in The New York Times, “G.M’s Ignition Switch Death Toll Hits 100.”
The toll far exceeds the 13 victims that GM stated last year as the only known fatalities linked to its faulty ignition switches. One death or injury is too much, especially since this ignition switch crisis was entirely preventable. But as the number of injury and death victims continues to climb, the ignition switch crisis is already “one of the deadliest automotive safety issues in American history,” The New York Times stated.
A recap on the safety crisis: The ignition switch problem could cause ignitions to slip from “run” to “accessory” or “off” positions while being driven. In turn, vehicles could stall, shutting down power brakes and power steering and preventing airbags from deploying.
General Motors has recalled an estimated 2.6 million cars, including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn models
GM allegedly knew about the defective switch in several of its car models for many years, but hid the problem. And the defect would have stayed hidden — senselessly killing more people — if not for a lawsuit filed by the parents of one of the first women killed. The lawsuit exposed GM’s deliberate decision to conceal a known dangerous design defect that would have cost just 90-cents to fix.
Now this. Since GM allegedly looked the other way while its product defect was killing people, it certainly doesn’t look good for the company as to why it would so grossly underestimate the mounting death toll to the public.
In total, 4,300 claims for deaths and injuries had been filed with General Motors. Of that total, a General Motors compensation fund approved payments for 100 deaths and 184 injuries so far — with 37 death claims and 589 injury claims still under review, according to The Times.
Last summer, I participated in a full legal seminar examining the General Motors ignition switch litigation. The truth is that without trial lawyers investigating this issue, the full extent of the dangers of the GM ignition switch cover-up would still remain hidden.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra said months ago the company has full intention to take responsibility for this crisis. Hopefully she honors this pledge by being transparent with the information on the death and injury claims as they continue to be investigated.