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GM knew of and concealed defective auto part problem

When a company sells a product it is giving consumers the expectation that the product is safe to use. Unfortunately, there are many products that are sold that contain defects. Using a defective or dangerous product can result in serious injuries or even death.

A number of automakers have had to issue product recalls because of a faulty auto part at one time or another. A simple automobile design defect can result in major vehicle reliability issues, or even accidents.

Illinois residents may have read about General Motor’s recent recall of over two million vehicles because of a defective ignition switch. The company has been hit with a whopping $35 million fine for the problem, at least in part because it delayed its response to the issue after it knew the defect existed. The U.S. government is further investigating the matter and may impose even more severe punishment.

The defective auto part has allegedly resulted in at least 13 deaths. According to reports by federal investigators recalls did not start until February 2014 even though GM had received complaints regarding the ignition switch for years.

These complaints have argued that the defective ignition switch on GM vehicles can cause the vehicle engine to stall without warning and may prevent the airbags from deploying in the event of a crash. Also, if the ignition switch flips itself from the “on” to the “accessory” position, the power braking system and power steering may quit working.

GM is reportedly conducting an internal investigation, and deciding whether and how to compensate those who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones because of this apparently dangerous product. Because GM was aware of the problem long before it addressed it, the company could also be subject to allegations that it was negligent in this situation.

Those who believe they are victims of a dangerous consumer product may want to speak with an attorney to better understand their rights. It is not always the case that a defective product makes big headlines and prompts such a high profile company to be investigated so it may be important for victims in lesser known cases to speak with an attorney. 

Source: 

Reuters, "GM to pay $35 million U.S. fine for delayed response to faulty ignitions," Eric Beech and Richard Cowan, May 16, 2014

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