An Alabama man says a recalled ignition switch was the cause of his daughter's death following a fatal car accident back in Dec. 2013, and he says General Motors is liable and should pay. The suit, which was filed in Lauderdale County Circuit Court on Monday, alleges that the ignition switch malfunctioned on his daughter's 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt and caused her vehicle to become uncontrollable. After losing control of her car, she crossed over into oncoming traffic and collided with an 18-wheeler log truck. A fiery crash resulted, and she was killed instantly, leaving behind two young sons.
This suit comes on the heels of a February 2014 recall of 1.6 million cars by GM. The recall involves ignition switch failure. The ignition switch in affected vehicles may go from "on" to "off" or to "accessory" on its own, which in turn causes power steering and brake failure and can cause air bag failure during a crash. A follow-up accident investigation after the recall found that ignition failure was a factor in the fatal car accident.
The suit not only accuses GM of being at fault in the woman's death but goes on to say that the company knew of the ignition problem as far back as 2001. The attorney who filed the suit alleges that the company covered up the problem rather than recalling the affected models. A spokesman for the company would not comment on the specifics of the case; however, he did say that GM knew that "bad things happened" and says the company has apologized.
In cases where the serious negligence of another causes death or serious injury, surviving family members have a right to seek out compensation, including compensatory damages for loss of consortium and companionship and mental anguish. Although the outcome in this litigation remains to be seen, lawyers in Texas have asked a federal judge to order GM to tell its customers to park the cars on the recall list until repairs are made.
Source: USA Today, "GM sued over December fatal crash in Alabama" No author given, Mar. 25, 2014