General Motors’ string of accident-related claims starting with the Chevrolet Cobalt earlier this year continues this month.
The American car manufacturing company appointed a compensation expert, who started reviewing death and injury claims related to the ignition switch defect back in August. Since that point, the company’s weekly updates indicated the initial figure of 13 deaths grew to 19, and then to 21 last week. As well, the total, including fatalities and injuries, increased from 31 to 37.
However, it’s still the beginning for General Motors. 675 total claims, including 143 concerning deaths, have been filed and are still under review. This past year, 15 million vehicles across multiple models were recalled over an ignition switch that, if jostled, shuts the car off while in motion; as a result, air bags, power steering, power brakes, and other safety systems turn off. Plaintiffs have been asked to show that the air bags did not deploy in any of the recalled cars, with evidence from photos, repair records, black box data, police reports, and insurance records being used to review each claim.
The September 22 is just one of multiple issues concerning General Motors this month. The company announced another recall this week, this time concerning a brake defect for the Cadillac X75 (2013 to 2015 models) and Chevrolet Impala (2014 and 2015 models). More than 200,000 vehicles have indicator lights that don’t illuminate when the brakes do not completely recede. As a result, brakes still partially touching the car’s rotors create excessive heat, which makes for a potential fire hazard. No injuries or fatalities have been reported as of yet.
An additional report from the New York Times further indicates that the ignition switch defect could’ve been caught sooner. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration allegedly knew as early as 2007, but ignored crucial information and did not follow up concerns about the Cobalt’s air bags.
Along with these two recalls, more GM vehicles received scrutiny this year for improperly-welded seats, air bags, and turn signals and power steering loss.