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Family Re-Files Lawsuit After Settling With GM Over Faulty Ignition Switch

Car accidents are often caused by the actions of a negligent driver. In these cases, injured parties may point to the motorist’s distracted driving or failure to heed traffic safety laws as the cause of the crash -and any resulting injuries. But there are accidents that are not the fault of any driver, but instead can be blamed on a defective vehicle or part. A driver who has been injured in an accident due to a defective or faulty vehicle may be entitled to compensation. In order to recover the full value of your claim, it is crucial that you contact an experienced injury attorney from the Atlanta area.

According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, parents of a young woman who died in a 2010 crash that was caused by a faulty ignition switch in a General Motors (“GM”) car, want to rescind their settlement agreement and are now filing a new lawsuit against the company. The complaint filed in March 2013 alleged that while the decedent drove her Chevrolet Cobalt on Georgia’s Highway 9, the key moved out of the run position, causing the engine to shut off and further causing her to lose control of the vehicle and strike an oncoming car. The impact caused her vehicle to travel off the highway, which lead to injuries that caused her death. The complaint accused GM of negligence in designing, testing and manufacturing the car, and of failing to adequately warn consumers. In September of 2013, GM and the parents reached a settlement.

The parents filed a new complaint in state court in Marietta, alleging that GM fraudulently concealed critical evidence and permitted a representative from the company to lie under oath. The specific allegations suggest that a lead design engineer for the Cobalt ignition switches testified repeatedly that he was not aware of any design change to the switches, and that the company affirmed those assertions. However, according to the new complaint, GM’s recent disclosures to Congress and to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contradict those earlier statements. The attorney for the decedent’s parents argues that the family would not have settled with GM had they known of the concealment of the evidence and the perjury committed by company representatives. GM’s refusal to rescind the settlement agreement has prompted the parents to file this new lawsuit. The company recently released a statement denying any fraudulent concealment of facts relevant and critical to this case, and further denying any improper conduct related to this matter.

The parents are asking the court to rescind the agreement to allow their new claims for damages to go forward. They argue that GM knew about the ignition switch problem as early as 2001 and failed to implement suggested design changes. Their attorney has claimed that GM intended to resolve his clients’ claims before disclosing the Cobalt ignition switch design changes. This case has taken a disturbing and confounding path. It will be interesting to follow the state court’s response to this lawsuit. As we can see from this case, it is critically important to understand the cause of any car accident case in order to adequately assess an injured victim’s right to a recovery.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to a recovery for your suffering and losses. Stephen M. Ozcomert has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, representing individuals who have been injured as a result of another’s negligence in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Call us today at (404)-370-1000 to schedule your free initial consultation, or you can reach us through our website.

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