General Motors sent recall notices to 4.5 million owners of Saturn Ions and Chevy Cobalts, alerting them to the faulty ignition switch. Those falling within this group have until January 31st to file a claim with GM, and locally, one victim coming forward is Amber Synott, of Torrington.
Reported in The Republican-American on January 4th, Synott, who got into an accident in her 2005 Saturn in 2008 just a few months after purchasing it, suspects she may have experienced this defect. She is represented by Trantolo & Trantolo.
In cars with this issue, the ignition switch moves and turns off. The vehicle loses power, and when it collides with something, the airbags do not deploy. According to statements, her accident in December 2008 fits this scenario. Her Saturn had been significantly damaged, and photographic evidence showed the airbags did not deploy.
As well, the accident marked a life-changing event for Synott. She couldn’t feel her legs at the scene, nor in the hospital, and is now paralyzed from the chest down. According to statements made in the newspaper, she has been unable to live on her own, suffers from bedsores and bone infections, and has been in and out of hospitals for six years. Her mother has taken on the role as her caretaker.
Synott has since filed a claim with the GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility, and if it’s approved, she could receive $1 million. GM has set aside funds for settlements and, according to reports, has received up to 2,400 claims, with more than 10 percent concerning fatalities and another 172 for serious injuries. However, Fund Administrator Kenneth Feinberg has only approved 100 and rejected another 300. Those filing must prove the vehicle was recalled and that the airbag never deployed.
While 2.6 million vehicles have been recalled, Synott is only the second known case in Connecticut. The first is Jean Averill, 81, of Washington, who died when her car hit tree in 2003.
From the time the Cobalt’s defect was reported earlier in 2014, more notices were sent out concerning faulty indicator lights and brakes. As of October 2014, roughly 30 million cars and trucks have been recalled.
Trantolo & Trantolo’s team represents clients in product liability claims like the GM recall. If you think you suffered from a defective ignition switch, contact any of our Connecticut locations to speak with an attorney.