Maine drivers should be aware that General Motors recalled over 2.5 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches. The ignition switch in certain GM cars could turn off during the operation of the vehicle, resulting in stalled engines and disabled brakes and airbags. Some of the affected cars are the Pontiac G5, the 2007 Chevy Cobalt and the 2007 Saturn Sky. A full list is available on a GM website.
GM explained that drivers should remove all objects from their vehicle keys, including the fob, in order to make the car safe to drive. Apparently extra weight can cause the switch to turn off on its own or move to the accessory mode. However, it may be wiser to park your car until the problem is fixed and ask GM for a loaner car.
In early April, 22 family members of those that died as a result of driving the cars that have been recalled asked Congress to urge GM to tell consumers not to drive these cars at all. Many members of Congress agreed and hope to toughen disclosure laws about defects that make cars less safe or totally unsafe. Senator Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, agreed the models should not be driven until repaired.
Another Congressman noted that more than 130 warranty claims had been submitted to the House over the past decade. They notified GM about cars stalling on the road resulting in injuries and deaths. Nonetheless, GM delayed warning consumers. Congressman Waxman stated that GM should establish a compensation fund for victims’ families, since it cannot be sued for claims from before its 2009 bankruptcy as part of the bankruptcy’s terms.
A federal judge in Texas is also currently determining whether GM should have to tell owners to park their cars until their repairs are complete. This is a huge decision because the part that GM needs to repair these cars was not made in sufficient quantities and there can be delays in replacing parts even though the replacement process itself is simple.
Most Maine drivers trust manufacturers to build cars that are safe to drive. Defective parts, like ignition switches, can cause injury or death. In Maine, you can recover compensation for damages caused by a defective product. These lawsuits may be based on multiple theories, including design defects, manufacturing defects, and inadequate warnings. Often a seller is not held responsible, but where a seller provides an express warrant of a car’s safety, it may also be held responsible for any resulting injuries. This can prove important in cases such as GM’s where the manufacturer files for bankruptcy and as a result the court has immunized it from litigation before a certain date.
Manufacturing defects are considered under a strict liability standard because manufacturers are in a better position to detect whether there is a defect. Even when there is no obvious flaw in a product, it may have dangers that are not apparent to consumers. Manufacturers are in a better position to offer a warning to consumers once they learn there is a problem with the vehicle.
In cases involving manufacturing defects, a consumer can sue under a theory of strict liability. This means the consumer does not have to prove negligent conduct. Rather the consumer must prove (1) a defect and (2) using the defective product caused an injury. If he or she is able to prove these elements, a plaintiff can recover medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering.
If you are hurt or a loved one is killed by a defective car, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve. At Briggs & Wholey, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to answer any questions you may have. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced advocate, please contact Briggs & Wholey, LLC at (888) 596-1099 or through our website today.
More Blog Posts:
Child Safety in Maine: Graco Recall of Car Seats, Maine Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, March 18, 2014
Attitudes about Speeding in Maine and Elsewhere, Maine Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, March 11, 2014