After General Motors announced a recall of 1.6 million vehicles globally because of a defective part, lawyers began filing class action lawsuits on behalf of people who have been victims of the faulty ignition switches. A class action lawsuit combines numerous plaintiffs but can take years to conclude. Two plaintiffs have claimed that they are now fearful when they get behind the wheel because they think that the car might shut off and cause an accident.
The new head of the automaker has admitted that the company knew about the defect for at least 11 years but failed to issue the recall until February of this year. The news has initiated a number of investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, two congressional committees and other agencies that oversee the industry. If they determine that GM is guilty of failure to act, the company could face criminal charges. Transport Canada is also examining a Quebec fatality from June 2013 to determine if a defective part played a role.
The vehicles with the defective switches were manufactured from 2003 to 2007. An estimated 235,000 of the cars were bought in Alberta and across Canada. Affected models include the Saturn Sky and Ion; Chevrolet HHR and Cobalt; and Pontiac Solstice and G5s. An estimated 12 people have been killed in accidents related to the defective part, but authorities speculate that the number will probably rise. GM did not provide additional comments on the pending case.
When someone want to begin civil litigation because of a defective product, a class action lawsuit might be possible if others have had the same issue. Usually, certain conditions must be met before a class action suit is possible, so a personal injury lawyer might need to examine the circumstances of the claim before it is filed.
Source: Driving.ca, "GM faces Canadian class action lawsuits over defective ignition switches", David Friend, March 21, 2014