In 1965, consumer advocate Ralph Nader published his landmark book,Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, which outlined how car manufacturers resisted the introduction of safety features into their vehicles. The book particularly focused on the Chevrolet Corvair, which had a design flaw that led to many crashes, resulting in serious injuries and deaths. Unfortunately, General Motors, which manufactured the car, chose profits over safety when it failed to redesign the vehicle so that it would be safe at any speed.
Fast forward nearly 50 years. Things haven’t changed much – if at all.
Recent news stories have confirmed that GM failed to recall a defective ignition switch in Chevy Cobalts and Pontiac G5s that, according to reports, led to at least 13 deaths. New GM Chief Executive Mary Barra has publicly accepted responsibility for her predecessors’ failure to recall the switch, and vowed to take action to assure that consumers could feel safe in GM vehicles.
The public never learned of these dangers until early 2014, when GM informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it intended to recall the Cobalts and G5s that were sold with the design defects. Documents produced by GM should that the company knew about the fatal flaw since at least 2004, and perhaps earlier.
Oh, and the cost to repair this defect: Less than one dollar. Rather than make the changes, GM executives decided that spending 57 cents per vehicle was too high to be an “acceptable business case.”
The story worsens. On Friday, June 13th, GM announced another recall. This time, the company announced that it was recalling 511, 528 Chevrolet Camaros that had an ignition switch design flaw similar to the defect in the Chevy Cobalts. GM claims that it is only aware of minor accidents, but no deaths, from the latest safety problem with its vehicles.
Instead, GM issued a technical service bulletin advising dealers to provide a key insert to customers who complained. Only about 500 out of the tens of thousands of eligible customers received the insert. GM changed the ignition switch in 2006 but instructed the switch manufacturer to use the same part number to conceal the change. The new switch was also below specifications.
Consumers expect and have a right to purchase cars that are designed and manufactured with safety features that protect rather than endanger them. Yet companies such as GM continue to sell vehicles knowing that they have defects that place the safety and lives of their customers at risk.
At the Law Offices of Thomas More Holland, we understand how to deal with these cases, and will guide you through the process. We make that sure victims of defective products receive all of the compensation they deserve.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
Yes. These cases, commonly called “Products liability cases,” are complicated, and require prompt investigation. You need an attorney who has handled these cases, understands the law, and will find qualified experts who can explain why the product malfunctioned or was defectively designed. Attorney Thomas More Holland has represented persons injured by defective and dangerous products for nearly 30 years, and the attorneys and staff of the Law Offices of Thomas More Holland have the knowledge to handle your case.
Attorney Thomas More Holland and his staff give every client personal attention, investigate and analyze the facts of every case, and provide zealous legal representation. If you, a loved one or a friend has been injured, contact the Law Offices of Thomas More Holland by filling out a simple form, by sending an email or by calling (215) 592-8080.