A West Virginia man is suing General Motors LLC (GM) and a GM car dealer, claiming that GM was responsible for a faulty ignition switch in his pregnant wife’s Chevy Cobalt, leading to a collision that resulted in her death.
Jason Vest filed a claim in Mercer Circuit Court against both HM and Delphi Automotive PLC, stating that he had purchased the Chevy Cobalt in 2006, and one month later, his wife was killed after she lost control of the car, ran a stop sign, and was struck by a tractor trailer. The Chevy Cobalt’s airbags failed to deploy. Vest claimed that the faulty ignition switch was the cause of the collision, and that GM had been aware of this defect since 2001. Vest’s claims include products liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. He seeks damages that include loss of income, funeral expenses, medical expenses, and punitive damages.
GM and several other car manufacturers have been in the spotlight recently due to their multiple vehicle recalls over the past year. GM alone has recalled at least 13.8 million vehicles sold across the United States. This included a recall of 500 new pickup trucks and SUVs due to an airbag malfunction and 2.6 million vehicles due to a faulty ignition that led to 13 deaths and counting.
The faulty ignition defect consisted of a nightmare scenario where key rings holding more than one key could cause the ignition to switch to the accessory position or the off position, leading to the loss of power, including power steering and breaking, as well as preventing airbags from deploying in the event of a front-impact crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has claimed GM was aware of the defect before 2014, but chose to do something about it only this year. The agency criticized GM for delaying action for so long, noting that the families and friends of those killed as a result deserved answers about what happened. For its part, GM launched a new unit that will quickly uncover any safety defects and issued recall notices for applicable vehicles. For delaying the recall of vehicles with ignition problems, GM will pay a fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of $35 million. However, the true price may come later, as people like Jason Vest file lawsuits to recover damages for their loved ones’ deaths.
Overall, GM issued seven recalls in one week and a stunning 30 since January 1, 2014. Even more concerning, GM is not the only vehicle manufacturer to deal with defects. Toyota has faced corrosion, faulty brakes, and glitching software that affects air bags on some of its vehicles. Like GM, Toyota delayed taking action and was eventually forced to pay a fine worth $1.2 billion and accept three years of probation.
The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney, contact us today.