Understanding the GM Recall and Defect

For over a decade General Motors has been aware that over a million of their cars on the road potentially had a fatal glitch.

An ignition switch that could suddenly turn off the engine and airbag system while the car was driving. As early as 2004 General Motors knew of at least one incident where this happened. An engineer found that something as simple as a weighted keychain could cause the Cobalt to lose power.

Solutions to fix the flaw were rejected by General Motors after consideration of the lead time required, cost and effectiveness of each of these solutions. In 2005 a General Motors engineer proposed a redesign to fix the flaw, those plans were scrapped. Instead General Motors sent out a service bulletin to its dealerships warning drivers not to use heavy key chains.

In the summer of 2005 sixteen year old Amber Marie Rose was killed after the airbag in her Chevy Cobalt failed to activate. The ignition switch was actually in the accessory position which in affect turn the airbags off.

Given back in 2005 it is believed investigators saw indications that General Motors was aware that this problem was occurring. In April of 2007 regulators were notified by an investigator that Rose’s crash was linked to the faulty ignition, they did not open an investigation.

By the end of 2007 General Motors was aware of four crashes related to their faulty ignitions. They gathered the black boxes from the cars but it wasn’t until years later in the spring of 2009 that engineers met and confirmed that a potentially fatal defect existed in hundreds of thousands of cars. Less than two months later General Motors filed one of the largest bankruptcy agreements in U.S history.

The General Motors that emerged from bankruptcy was potentially absolved of its liability from all crashes before June 2009.

Meanwhile, the company continued to mislead and ignore the families of victims. In fact years after finding out definitively about the link they continued to tell families of accident victims that they did not have enough evidence of any defects in their cars. In one case General Motors threatened to come after the family of an accident victim for reimbursement of legal fees if the family did not withdraw its lawsuit.

Finally, in March 2014 General Motors recalled 1.6 million small cars including the Cobalt which was discontinued in 2010.

The number of deaths caused by the glitch in the ignition is in dispute. General Motors say they have evidence of 12 related deaths, independent experts say as many as 303 individuals have been killed.

Here’s what’s not in dispute, in the spring of 2009 General Motors knew that millions of their cars had a potentially fatal ignition glitch. It took them almost five years to take those cars off the roads.

Our Law Firm believes that if you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury or loss, then GM should be held responsible for their conduct, for their behavior and for their complete disregard to you and your family. Call the Attorneys of Carabin Shaw, day or night, if you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury or the death of a loved one.

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