What is the GM Ignition Switch Failure?

GM recalls 2.6 million vehicles in the U.S. due to a deadly faulty ignition

GM put a dangerously defective ignition switch in several vehicle models, including the Chevrolet, Pontiac G5, Saturn and several others.  The defect allowed the ignition switch on these cars to suddenly and unexpectedly shut the engine off while driving, resulting in a loss of power steering, anti-lock brakes, and all protective air bags were shut off.  According to GM’s own admissions in the recall, something as simple and common as a heavy key chain could cause the switch to disengage and shut the engine off with the car in motion, especially over bumpy roads or other uneven terrain or surfaces.  Then the drivers were faced with a loss of steering control, poor or no braking ability and no protective airbags deploying on impact.

GM knew about the deadly defect for over a decade but failed to act 

Despite evidence that GM knew about this faulty ignition switch as far back as 2001, they continually covered up the problem, and even silenced whistle blowers who made their concerns about the defect known for years.  Only after GM realized that findings in an early wrongful death complaint would bring their long concealment of the deadly defect to light after more than a decade of inaction and cover ups, the giant automaker finally issued its first recall on affected vehicles on February 13, 2014.  By the end of that year, GM recalled millions of vehicles worldwide, with an estimated 2.6 million of them sold in the U.S.

While GM at one time admitted that at least 13 people have been killed in auto accidents linked to the recalled cars, a study by the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer protection group, has put the number linked to the deadly ignition defect at 303 deaths.

Lawyers for GM faulty ignition victims carry the fight to the courtroom

Since the recall, GM set aside a $600 million compensation fund for some victims of their ignition failure, but the deadline to apply for that fund expired January 6, 2016.  Many families and individuals opted not to apply to this fund, and instead filed lawsuits against GM.  More and more lawsuits are filed every day against GM, and at least 17 cases are scheduled for trial in state and federal courts this year, and these cases should help determine how much GM will ultimately have to pay victims of their defective cars.  These lawsuits are complex and require a high level of expertise and specialized knowledge to pursue.  Moreover, GM filed a sweeping bankruptcy in the past several years, and the complications that bankruptcy causes just add another layer of legal complications to the already daunting task of taking on a giant automaker like GM.

If you or a loved one was injured in a crash involving any of the vehicles GM was forced to recall due to this deadly defective ignition failure, you may be able to file a lawsuit to hold GM accountable for their cover up and inaction and receive the compensation you deserve.  Call for today so the experienced product liability team at Junell & Associates can evaluate your claim.

A current list of recalled vehicles can be found below:

  • Buick Lacrosse – 2005-2009
  • Buick Lucerne – 2006-2011
  • Cadillac Deville – 2000-2005
  • Cadillac CTS – 2003-2011
  • Cadillac DTS – 2006-2011
  • Cadillac SRX – 2004-2006
  • Chevrolet Camaro – 2010-2014
  • Chevrolet Cobalt – 2005-2010
  • Chevrolet HHR – 2006-2011
  • Chevrolet Impala – 2000-2014
  • Chevrolet Malibu – 1997-2003
  • Chevrolet Malibu Classic – 2004-2005
  • Chevrolet Monte Carlo – 2000-2007
  • Oldsmobile Alero – 1999-2004
  • Oldsmobile Intrigue – 1998-2002
  • Pontiac G5 – 2007-2010
  • Pontiac Grand Am – 1999-2005
  • Pontiac Grand Prix – 2004-2008
  • Pontiac Solstice – 2006-2010
  • Saturn Ion – 2003-2007
  • Saturn Sky – 2007-2010