General Motors Settles Faulty Ignition Switch Cases

Three years after the initial recall was announced and over a decade since the defect was initially detected, General Motors (GM), has been ordered to pay a $120 million settlement regarding their massive ignition switch defect scandal. According to the Detroit Free Press, the settlement was announced on October 19, 2017, and is settling claims in multiple states. The ignition switch defect killed 124 people and injured 275 more.

The defect was found in smaller cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, which were made by the old GM. The defective ignition switch caused the cars’ engines to stall and prevented airbags from deploying, all while the car was in motion. GM recalled 2.7 million vehicles in 2014 due to this issue. The state of Michigan will be receiving $4.3 million, which will be put in the state’s general fund. The settlement does not include payments GM has made/is making to families of those killed or injured in accidents caused by the defective ignition switch.

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The recall is one of the largest in the U.S., and has a timeline spanning over a decade. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that "certain employees of GM knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect because it could prevent airbags from deploying. However, despite this knowledge, GM personnel decided it wasn’t a safety concern and delayed making recalls. GM continued to market the reliability and safety of its motor vehicles which were equipped with this defective ignition switch.”

According to NPR, GM first noticed a problem with the defective ignition switch in 2001 during pre-testing of the Saturn Ion. An inquiry was launched looking into this, and was closed in 2003, saying the problem had been fixed. GM again noticed the same defect in 2004 during production of the Chevrolet Cobalt, but rejected a proposal in March of 2005 to fix the issue due to the time and money it would require. In December of that same year, GM released a statement saying the defect occurs when "the driver is short and has a large and/or heavy key chain...the customer should be advised of this potential and should ... [remove] unessential items from their key chain, ” but did not issue a recall.

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Fast forward to 2007, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe into the issue, but closed it saying they found no correlation between the faulty ignition switch and the complaints they received. Another NHTSA probe of the issue was opened and closed in 2010. By the end of 2013, GM had officially linked the faulty ignition switch to 31 car collisions and 13 deaths. Finally in February of 2014, the defect was officially reported to the NHTSA and the initial recall was launched. More recalls were issued in March, April, and May of that year.

On the day the settlement was announced, GM said in a statement that “the resolution includes a financial component, and assures GM will continue ongoing improvements made to ensure the safety of its vehicles. These improvements include continuation of a new organizational structure devoted to global vehicle safety and the company’s Speak Up for Safety program.”

Hopefully, GM is serious about this commitment to safety, and another car safety recall such as this could be avoided. While recalls are often for relatively minor issues, the number of injuries and fatalities due to the GM ignition switch defect shows that recalls need to be taken seriously. Drivers need to pay attention when recalls are announced, and be proactive about checking their car’s VIN number to make sure their vehicles are safe to drive. While some mechanical issues are impossible to predict, knowing if your car is under recall is something all drivers are responsible for, not only for their own safety, but for the safety of their passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.


Regardless of whether or not your vehicle is under recall, car accidents due to mechanical failures happen. If you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle accident due to a recall, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Defective Gas Tank Part Investigation Is Ongoing

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According to Claims Journal, the NHTSA has started investigating certain auto parts which appear to be made by Continental Automotive GmbH, a German auto parts manufacturer, after the manufacturer filed paperwork indicating that there is a possibility of defective parts and that a recall will take place. A Continental spokesperson has went on the record saying "[o]ur filing is signaling that basically there’s a potential defect and here’s who we sold it to." The full extent of this auto part recall remains to be seen.

Bloomberg has recently reported that the "recalls so far affect certain Porsche Macan, Audi Q5, Audi Q7 and VW Touareg SUVs sold over the last decade. The fuel pump flange is generally mounted in the fuel tank and closes an opening used to mount other fuel and vapor management." It has also been reported that Continental may have also supplied the potentially defective fuel pump flanges to McLaren, Lamborghini, and Volvo, as well as multiple auto suppliers.

Continental has said that it is communicating with those who may have been impacted by the gas tank part being investigated.  The potential number of vehicles involved in this recall is still being determined, but estimates "could spread to millions of other vehicle" according to Claims Journal.


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a Birmingham, Michigan personal injury firm. Our Metro Detroit law office handles all types of injury accidents and seeks to recover monetary damages for our clients. Call our law office today at 844.4MI.FIRM (844.464.3476) for a free consultation.  Speak to an accident attorney today. 

Toyota's Braking and Steering Issues May Lead to Recall

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Toyota is now under federal investigation after two crashes and five injuries have been linked to steering and braking problems in over 100,000 Toyota sport utility vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told Reuters that it has 135 complaints from 2001-2002 Toyota Sequoia SUV owners citing incidents of unexpected vehicle stability control activations which have resulted in automatic braking of the left or right wheel, as well as unexpected steering pull.

Before a recall is deemed necessary, the NHTSA will conduct a preliminary probe into the vehicle’s issues. About half of the complaints which have been filed said the problems were caused by a faulty sensor, and most complaints reported unexpected activation at highway speeds which led to drivers feeling a “jerk” from their steering wheel. According to the Reuters article, this is not the first time this decade that Toyota has had to consider recalling their vehicles. In 2010, Toyota recalled 50,000 2003 Sequoia SUVs because the vehicle stability control system could activate at low speeds. Toyota insisted at the time that the issue was not a safety issue, but the company agreed to recall the vehicles.

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“We are aware that the NHTSA has opened a Preliminary Evaluation concerning the 2001 and 2002 model year Sequoia. Customer safety and satisfaction is a top priority for Toyota. We will cooperate with the agency in its investigation, as we have previously,” Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight said in a statement. Knight also requested that any drivers who may be experiencing similar issues with their vehicles should contact their dealers immediately. 


Is your car driving on its own but is not an self-driving car? Car defects that are not properly repaired or replaced can lead to severe injuries and even death. If you see a recall out for your vehicle, even if it's for a minor defect, it is important that you have your car fixed or replaced as soon as possible. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an accident which was caused by a car defect, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will fight to the fullest extent of the law to get you the help necessary for you to recover from your injuries. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.