Under Alabama law, the injury, death or property damage resulting from a faulty product may involve product liability. Section 6-5-501 specifically lists several types of claims, premised on actions such as negligence, misrepresentation, a manufacturer’s liability doctrine, or a breach of warranty. Notably, the law also precludes the defenses of contribution and indemnity.
When a design defect involves an automobile, the manufacturer typically issues a recall and may establish a settlement fund to provide for injured claimants. If the manufacturer’s response to the defect was allegedly fraudulent or concealing, additional liability may be involved.
For example, readers are likely aware that automaker General Motors issued a recall for a potentially faulty ignition switch involving up to 2.4 million of its models. In a recent announcement, GM also confirmed it will pay $575 million to settle the individual claims brought against it arising out of that defect, some involving fatal personal injuries.
Yet GM was also under investigation by federal authorities. The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that its investigation of the ignition switch issue involving General Motors would resolve with a $900 million fine. In that instance, the automaker was accused of misleading safety regulators in an effort to conceal the defect for several years.
As a personal injury firm that focuses on dangerous cars and defective parts, we have experience investigating issues such as defective ignition systems or other types of automotive design defects. We understand the evidence needed to provide insights into the cause of an accident. In addition, we understand the intersection of product liability and personal injury law, and can work to maximize a victim’s recovery.
Source: Washington Post, “Why General Motors’ $900 million fine for a deadly defect is just a slap on the wrist,” Drew Harwell, Sept. 17, 2015