Not all products stand the test of time; yet when you purchase something, you expect it to adhere to a certain standard. A company has a responsibility to ensure that whatever it sells is fit for its purpose. It should be able to perform its required function and it should do so safely.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and worries about defective car parts recently inspired an analysis of complaints about one company in particular. With the number of cars General Motors gets out on the roads, one would hope that the vehicles are fit for safe driving.

In recent years, GM has been given cause to recall several car models due to serious defects. In some, there was a problem with the airbags, which did not deploy during collisions. Several instances of consumer injury are said to have occurred as a result, including four fatalities.

Other GM models were dangerous because the engine could be disabled by a slight knock to the ignition switch. The ignition switch defect has reportedly been linked to 12 deaths, with initial concerns about the problem having been raised in 2001. That timing, however, has only recently been revealed. It seems as though GM officials knew of the dangerous defect sooner than they once reported. 

A criminal investigation is planned by the Justice Department to determine the company’s awareness of the defective auto parts and their liability in the accidents that killed some and injured others. If GM had acted sooner to address the vehicle glitches, would they have prevented accidents?

These vehicles could have ended up anywhere, including in New York. Any product that does not meet safety standards can pose a threat to innocent people – especially a vehicle. In the event of an injury or fatality as a result of a company’s negligence, product liability victims are entitled to seek compensation with the guidance and support of a personal injury attorney. 

Source: The New York Times, “G.M. Reveals It Was Told of Ignition Defect in ’01,” Danielle Ivory, March 12, 2014

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