Whether one resides in New Jersey or elsewhere, it is not uncommon to hear of auto recalls. When manufacturers are informed of an issue, they have a responsibility to take the appropriate actions to ensure that their product is safe. Unfortunately, numerous individuals may be hurt or even killed before a fix is available. Years ago, GM was made aware of an issue with ignition switches on some of its vehicles which resulted in multiple auto collisions. Unfortunately, GM auto defect car crash victims were blocked from seeking compensation after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
According to reports, GM was able to complete the bankruptcy process in 40 days, which is believed to be incredibly fast. Bankruptcy protection allowed “New GM” to emerge from bankruptcy without fear of being held responsible for any legal liabilities faced by old GM. It is believed that by filing for bankruptcy, the company was relieved of paying out up to $10 billion in legal claims related to this auto defect.
The issue of faulty ignition switches is one that the company was supposedly aware of before it sought bankruptcy protection. This information, however, was not shared with the court. As a result, a federal appeals court recently ruled that the company could be held liable for any damages sustained by victims or — in the event of fatality — their loved ones.
Auto-defect car crash victims or their surviving family members should be able to hold manufacturers and others in the chain of supply responsible for any losses they have incurred. With this recent ruling, those in New Jersey who were negatively affected by the GM faulty ignition switch issue may finally have their day in court. Personal injury, wrongful death and any other applicable claims may now be filed in an effort to achieve monetary damages for any losses that are deemed legally recoverable.
Source: njherald.com, “Court ruling opens GM to billions in death, injury claims”, Tom Krisher, July 13, 2016