A United States appeals court has ruled that General Motors is not protected from lawsuits that arose from a deadly ignition switch defect. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that keeping plaintiffs from suing the automakers over their lost vehicle values and accidents due to the ignition switch would violate their right to due process. This is because the plaintiffs were not told about the vehicle defect before GM filed for bankruptcy.
General Motors was trying to keep hundreds of lawsuits at arm’s length that were based on the faulty ignition switch. They believed that the bankruptcy in 2009 would automatically bar the plaintiffs because GM because a new corporate entity.
The lawyers for some of the plaintiffs who are filing injury and death cases against the auto manufacturer will be affected by that decision. In addition, those who filed claims because their vehicle lost value due to the recall will also be affected. Those claims could be worth as much as $7 to $10 billion.
A federal judge is currently considering whether to grant GM’s motion to dismiss the cases involving vehicle values. The 2nd Circuit Court wrote, “Old GM — if reasonably diligent — surely should have known about the defect.”
The switch could slip out of place, which caused the motor in some of the older models of GM cars to turn off without any warning. It also would disable the airbags. The part has been linked to 275 injuries and 124 deaths.
If you or a loved were injured in an accident because of the faulty ignition switch, you may have a right to seek compensation. An attorney can provide more information.