Car designs have changed over the years, reflecting both scientific advances and consumer preferences. For example, aerodynamic principles are an expected feature in many car design ideas. Other features, like oversized grilles, beautiful surfacing, or detailing may be hard to justify as anything more than current consumer tastes.
Yet when an automaker discovers a potentially dangerous aspect in a car design, it is legally required to take steps to avoid that defect from causing personal injury to consumers. This requirement makes the response of automaker General Motors to a faulty ignition switch seem all the more negligent.
According to reports, the faulty ignition switch may cause a vehicle’s engine to lose power while driving. The sudden surprise of lost power, coupled with the difficulty in steering and controlling a vehicle without electrical power, is clearly a dangerous proposition. In fact, at least 13 fatal motor vehicle accidents have been attributed to this product issue.
At a recent House subcommittee hearing, federal lawmakers accused G.M.’s chief executive of ignoring a potentially dangerous car defect for about a decade. True, the automaker has issued a recall of over one millions vehicles that may have the defective part. However, the company is without justification for ignoring early warnings about the dangerous issue.
An attorney that specializes in auto defect cases knows that companies like G.M. have the resources to mount a strong defense against allegations of negligence, personal injury and/or product liability. It may take experts to establish that a carmaker failed to take adequate steps to ensure the crashworthiness of its product. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, however, an accident victim can work to hold accountable all those who may have been negligent.
Source: The New York Times, “G.M. Chief Faces Ire of Senators in Hearing,” Bill Vlasic and Matthew L. Wald, April 2, 2014