At Sette Law, our Sacramento car accident lawyers watch in amazement as GM recalls continue to mount and some responsibility is shared with federal regulators. A spotlight now falls upon the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with allegations it was aware of some GM defects years before GM issued a nationwide recall that includes owners in Sacramento. Injury lawyers are concerned that NHTSA’s vigilance fell short of reporting failures in ignition switches that failed and cut off power to airbags in some GM models. Sacramento car accident lawyers have long looked to the NHTSA for reliable information about safety on the streets and freeways of Sacramento. Now, personal injury attorneys learn that a congressional report faults the agency for not making public their findings in 2007.
This revelation comes as GM recalls in 2014 mount to 39 million, impacting drivers everywhere, including Sacramento. Car accident lawyers at Sette Law note that the NHTSA continued to investigate crashes of GM cars related to faulty ignition switches without highlighting the issue until GM itself finally went public. Our Sacramento personal injury lawyers point out that an NHTSA deputy administrator claims GM cloaked problems by not using the term “defect” in its reporting to NHTSA about the switches. Nonetheless, Sacramento car accident lawyers understand that, as a government agency, the NHTSA has the responsibility of public trust and must live up to that for car owners in Sacramento.
Car accident lawyers also note that the NHTSA had also bestowed a “five Star” crash safety rating on the Chevy Cruze which was later recalled for airbag defects. This is not the quality of service expected of the NHTSA by drivers in Sacramento.
Injury Lawyers watch Settlement Challenge
Further complicating the GM saga is a recent court decision that was decided in favor of the family of a young woman killed in the 2010 crash of her Chevy Cobalt. Sacramento injury attorneys say the family had arrived at a settlement with GM a few months before the ignition switch defect was made public and recalls were launched. The recent lawsuit sought to overturn the settlement so that the family could move forward with legal action. According to our Sacramento injury lawyers, it was the family’s accident attorneys that hired an expert engineering firm to analyze the mechanics of the Cobalt switch. They discovered the switch had been redesigned to prevent failure, substantiating the family’s claim that GM was aware of the defect leading to their daughter’s death. The court agreed and, Sacramento car accident lawyers say the family is moving forward toward a trial that could impact similar claims in Sacramento. Our injury lawyers say that GM expressed disappointment with the court ruling and claimed they had made the earlier settlement “…in good faith.”
GM Fights to Minimize Liability
Parties suffering injury and loss due to GM defects should be aware that GM mounts its own defense against liability, according to Sacramento car accident lawyers at Sette Law. For example, the company refuses to accept responsibility for the death of a back seat passenger in the 2006 crash of a Cobalt. GM injury attorneys limit their liability only to the young woman driving the vehicle because the Cobalt had front seat, not back seat, airbags. Our Sacramento personal injury attorneys believe this corporate approach is grossly unfair to both families who loss of daughters is equal, regardless of where they were seated in the deadly accident caused by the ignition switch defect.
Victims and their families, according to Sacramento personal injury attorneys, will have to be prepared for a vigorous legal battle as GM seeks to minimize its costs and responsibility.