In an article examining the landscape of 2016 automotive product liability defect cases,Law360 spoke with Lieff Cabraser partner Elizabeth Cabraser about the General Motors deadly ignition switch defect cases. The defect, which can cause vehicles to lose power and thus prevent airbags from deploying, has allegedly caused hundreds of deaths and injuries and has affected millions of GM autos.
In 2015, GM agreed to pay a $900 million criminal settlement to the government in resolution of claims that GM knowingly concealed the defect. That litigation also settled 50% of wrongful death and injury claims against GM.
“The government’s involvement in the case is a good sign,” Ms. Cabraser said. “Increased vigilance on the part of federal regulators and prosecutors to correct automobile defects is a relatively recent phenomenon that could make litigation over deadly mechanical defects a relic of the past and the current suits against GM the last of their kind.”
If the laws work correctly, if accidents involving safety defects are reported promptly … then much of this can be avoided. What we’re always hoping for is this is going to be our last car case.
There are six bellwether trials scheduled for 2016 in the multi-district litigation against GM, targeting the company in Manhattan federal court.
Learn more about the GM ignition defect lawsuit and your legal rights as a GM vehicle owner.