Maryland drivers who own General Motors cars may have heard about a recall the company issued in February 2014 in connection with the ignition switch in 2.6 million of its vehicles. Several people were criminally charged in fatal accidents in which the defect is now considered the cause, and others may be forthcoming. The people had described their cars as increasing speed or stopping on their own and were not believed.
One woman spent three months in jail for reckless driving and involuntary manslaughter after she was the driver in an accident that killed a 16-year-old friend. Her guilty plea has been erased, and she applied to and received compensation from a fund General Motors set up for victims of accidents caused by the defect. Another woman's negligent homicide plea in connection with a 2004 accident has been reversed. A man who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide has since received a settlement and will seek the assistance of General Motors in getting his plea overturned.
However, one man turned down an offer from General Motors. He was charged despite the recall being made public, and it took a private detective to uncover the defect that led to the charges being dropped. He says General Motors only offered enough to cover his legal expenses, and he filed a lawsuit against the company.
For those who are injured in motor vehicle accidents, it is important to correctly identify who is responsible. People who are seriously injured may not be adequately compensated. In some cases, such as when victims sustain traumatic brain injuries, it may be necessary to have ongoing care for an indefinite period, and this can be costly. A personal injury attorney can review the accident investigation report and other evidence in order to determine the party or parties that should be held financially responsible for the victim's economic and non-economic losses.