So far, thirteen deaths have been linked to the faulty ignition switches in General Motors (GM) vehicles. When the government asked why the cars failed in these fatal accidents, GM said it did not know the cause.
However, The New York Times says that it obtained documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that “casts doubt on how forthright the automaker was with regulators.”
In 2004, Gene Erickson was riding with Candice Anderson in a Saturn Ion on a rural Texas highway outside of Dallas. The car instantly lost control and crashed head-on into a tree. Erickson was killed in the accident, but Anderson survived.
When the federal government asked GM why this crash happened, GM said that it did not look into the cause. Interestingly, documents from the NHTSA show that GM did look into the cause of this deadly accident about a month prior to the government inquiring into the case.
It turns out that an engineer working for the automotive company found that the accident occurred because the Saturn lost power, which caused it to lose control and crash into a tree with the airbags disabled.
What Was GM’s Response to Other Deaths Related to the Defect?
Erickson was just one of the 13 people whose death was caused by this known ignition-switch defect. Unfortunately, GM handled questions from federal authorities in much the same way as in Erickson’s case.
GM offered numerous reasons for why it could not respond to the government on the exact cause of these deaths:
- In three different cases, it said it did not assess the cause of a wreck.
- In one case, it said it could not comment because of attorney-client privilege.
- In other cases, it said it would simply not respond.
In an interview with The New York Times, law Professor Carl Tobias said, “It seems like the company knew that the accident was attributable to power loss. It does sound like they didn’t give NHTSA everything they should have.”
It is irresponsible that GM would go to great lengths to avoid recalling this deadly defect, but this case shows that it is important to hire an attorney if you are injured by an automotive defect. A knowledgeable lawyer can uncover the hidden information that big corporations will try to hide.
Did You Know? According to General Motors, as of July, nearly 520,000 vehicles with the ignition switch issues have been repaired.
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Personal Injury Attorney