Florida drivers may be interested in a new program set up to compensate those who were injured in connection with certain defective automobile parts. The carmaker is accepting financial responsibility, though some say they are still not going far enough.
In February, Detroit automaker General Motors announced a recall of several vehicle models, including the Saturn Ion and Chevrolet Cobalt. The recall involved a defective ignition switch that affected 2.59 million vehicles. Since then, GM has dealt with more than 100 lawsuits over accidents and other issues connected to the faulty switch. Additionally, the government has fined them $35 million for their behavior related to the defect, which may have involved false statements by the company.
Now, GM has announced that it will compensate any driver who was injured in an accident involving the defective switches. The company has opened up a claims process that will run from the beginning of August to the end of the year. The compensation will also be available to those who have settled with the company prior to the time that the defective ignition switch was revealed. Some, however, believe that there should be punitive damages involved due to an alleged cover-up of the defect. The other option for someone who has been injured is to file a lawsuit against GM. If a claimant is compensated through this program, though, they will be giving up their right to sue for further punitive and other damages.
In cases like this, an attorney may be able to help by examining the legal options available to someone injured when a manufacturer releases defective products. The attorney may assist in filing a lawsuit to recover compensation for those injuries, including the potential for punitive damages.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “GM to Pay All Legal Claims From Faulty Ignition Switches“, Tim Higgins and Linda Sandler, June 30, 2014