GM Super Cruise: The Future of Hands-Free Driving

One of the first things we are taught in driver’s education is how to properly hold a steering wheel. However, as technology progresses, our vehicles are increasingly gaining the ability to drive themselves. It seems that the future of driving is hands-free.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press, General Motors made an exciting announcement during the Intelligent Transportation Society’s annual conference in Detroit. GM revealed that their newest hands-free technology, known as the Super Cruise, will be implemented in their entire line of Cadillac vehicles as soon as 2020. Super Cruise is already available in the 2018 Cadillac CT6 Sedan, and after 2020, it will be introduced into other GM models, including GMC and Chevrolet. This innovative feature is described as, “the world’s first true hands-free driving system for the freeway.” It should be noted that “hands-free” driving only applies to simple cruising, and that manual control is necessary when changing lanes and merging or exiting the highway.

According to Cadillac, Super Cruise relies on LiDar mapping, short for Light Detection and Ranging, to allow hands-free driving across 130,000 miles of limited-access freeway stretching the US and Canada. Along with LiDar, GPS informs the system of upcoming curves and hills for the vehicle to adjust accordingly.  Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), another element of Super Cruise, accelerates the vehicle and actives the brakes when necessary.

Another main component of Super Cruise is the embedded Driver Attention System. While the emphasis is on hands-free driving, that does not mean attention free driving! Cadillac’s exclusive head tracking software certifies that drivers have their eyes on the road. If the system notices a lack of attention, it will send a series of alerts to inform the driver to either pay attention, or re-engage their hands on the steering wheel. Additional cameras and sensors work to maintain the vehicle within the proper lane markings as a part of the Lane Keep Assist feature.

It is important to keep in mind that while this technology is cutting-edge, it has not yet been perfected. There are many limitations that drivers should be aware of to avoid an unintended distracted driving car accident. As mentioned earlier, full attention is required by the driver while using Super Cruise. This means that any handheld devices, particularly cell phones, should be kept out of sight. It can be tempting to rely on this innovative technology to do the driving while the occupants of the vehicle watch TV or text, but in doing so, the distracted driver puts themselves at risk of a car accident injury. A fast reaction time may be vital in preventing a car crash, if a traffic obstacle requires the driver to manually take control of the vehicle.

While important, it is not enough to simply pay attention to the road when Super Cruise is activated. The vehicle must be regularly taken in for scheduled maintenance to ensure that all cameras and sensors are working properly. Additionally, for the technology to work as intended, road lane markings must be able to be detected by the vehicle. Because poor weather conditions may impact detection, Super Cruise is best used in good weather.

As stated by Steve Carlisle, Senior Vice President of GM and President of Cadillac, “Cadillac is proud to be the leader for the company’s [General Motors] innovation.” Super Cruise is an impressive, realistic step towards fully autonomous driving. The ultimate goal of autonomous vehicles is to eliminate human error, making driving safer and easier. But for the time being, the technology necessary to make this goal a reality is still developing. While the concept of Super Cruise is hands-free, the driver’s hands should still be nearby, and their eyes should stay on the road ahead.


No matter which vehicle make you are driving, and no matter if it has Super Cruise or not, the driver's full attention to the road is essential. All it takes is a few seconds for a car accident to occur. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Detroit Automakers Announce Commitments to Electric Vehicles

Two Detroit-based automakers are strengthening their commitment to producing electric vehicles. On Monday, October 2, 2017, General Motors and Ford both announced their plans to drastically increase their production of electric vehicles in the coming years. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM is planning on releasing two new electric vehicles in the next 17 months, and Ford plans on adding 13 electric vehicles to their lineup over the next 5 years.

Mark Reuss, the Chief of Product Development at GM’s Warren Tech Center, GM believes that, “the future is electric.” One such electric GM vehicle will be a mid-sized luxury SUV, and another will be a large, sleek, crossover with three rows of seating and is rumored to be a “futuristic” version of one GMs current electric models, the Chevy Bolt. The two vehicles GM is releasing in the near future are part of a larger plan to have 20 electric vehicles on the road by 2023, and is looking to “begin production of hydrogen fuel cells at its Brownstown battery plant in Michigan by 2020.” The automaker says that some of these vehicles will be battery operated and others will be fuel cell operated (meaning they use hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity). The good new for the environment about fuel cell technology is that the only emission of a fuel cell vehicle is water.

GM's announcement for an electric SUV comes at a great time as the market for SUVs is growing quickly (even millennials are interested in larger vehicles), and GM is looking to capitalize on that. 

Michigan Electric Car Crash Lawyer

Meanwhile Ford has created “Team Edison," a team within the company that is dedicated exclusively to the development of electric vehicles. Ford will be investing $4.5 billion over the next 5 years to develop 13 new battery electric vehicles. These are likely to include hybrid versions of the F-150 pickup truck, Mustang, police responder vehicle, and maybe even an autonomous vehicle. The company is also developing a battery operated small electric SUV. Sherif Marakby, Ford’s Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification said that, “by 2020, Ford plans to produce an electric car that can go 300 miles before needing to recharge.”

Despite the push from large automakers, and the fact that electric car sales reached a record high in 2016, as previously mentioned by The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog, electric vehicles are still fairly uncommon sights on the road. According to Bloomberg, there were 2 million electric vehicles on the road in 2016. While this is a whopping 60% increase from 2015, electric vehicles still only account for just .2% of total lightweight duty vehicles. The New York Times reported that in the first 8 months of 2017, “Americans purchased only about 60,000 battery-powered electric vehicles, and about the same number of plug-in hybrid models...accounting for only 1% of the market.”

If anything, it will be government regulations, not consumer interest, that drive the demand for electric vehicles. China, the United States, and countries in Europe are moving towards tighter emission regulations that could eventually lead to getting rid of gas powered vehicles all together. China, home to strict pollution regulations, is also home to the greatest number of electric vehicles on the road. Bloomberg reported that the US, Germany, China, France, and the UK, among others are part of the Electric Vehicle Initiative, which aims to have “30 percent market share for battery power cars, buses, trucks and vans by 2030.”

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One company that is almost synonymous with electric vehicles is Tesla. While they have shown that there is a demand for electric vehicles, they have also shown how they can be difficult to produce. Tesla’s Model 3 sedan had hundreds of thousands of people paying $1,000 deposits just to be put on a waiting list for the vehicle. But the company recently announced that in the third quarter of this year, they were only able to produce 260 vehicles due to production issues. When it comes to fuel cell vehicles, they are difficult to produce as hydrogen is expensive and not widely available.

Detroit automakers showing such a strong commitment to electric vehicles is encouraging. It’s exciting to know that in a few years there will be many “clean” cars on the road, cutting down on emissions and pollution. Hopefully other automakers will join GM and Ford and make electric vehicles a priority as well, and research and development will make these vehicles easier and cheaper to produce, making them more easily available. Electric vehicles are good for everyone - they will save drivers money on gas, and they help the planet reduce its carbon footprint.


Electric vehicles are good for the environment, but car accidents happen regardless of how fuel efficient a vehicle is. If you have been involved in an automobile accident involving an electric car, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney today. 

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.

GM Recall Lawyer

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.

Automakers Respond To Consumer Technology Demands

Forget about fuel economy, acceleration times, or reliability. What many new car shoppers want to know is if they will be able to integrate their smartphone with their new car’s multimedia system, and if the latest vehicle is Wi-Fi compatible. Automakers are increasingly developing new cars with these consumer demands in mind.  People in the market of buying a new car want to be able to access things like navigation, music, phone calls and text through their car's dashboard touchscreen, steering wheel buttons, or by voice command for a more hands-free experience. In response, the 2017 lineup of vehicles include one or more tech-savvy feature. Demand for multimedia systems, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, continues to increase, and with it, the number of vehicles catering to these needs.

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A year ago, fewer than 50 vehicles were offering one or more of these features. The list has reached over 100 this year, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. General Motors now has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in 30 of its models. Ford, a company that one year ago didn’t even have one vehicle with a multimedia system, is now the first vehicle manufacturer to offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on every vehicle line it sells, including the luxury Lincoln brand. BMW and Porsche have the option for Apple CarPlay in a majority of their models, though no plans to add Android Auto have been announced.

While many automakers are jumping to integrate already existing technology into their cars, Toyota is going against the grain by creating their own system, called Scout GPS Link. This system allows the integration of a smartphone navigation app with the vehicle's multimedia system on many of the Toyota and Lexus models.

On the Wi-Fi front, GM and Ford are following in the footsteps of Chrysler by implementing Wi-Fi in some of their vehicles, thereby bringing wireless connection to models other than just luxury cars. Some GM cars now even have OnStar 4G LTE, Ford has upgraded their MyFord Touch system to make accessibility easier for users, and even Chrysler has extended Wi-Fi to its Jeep and Dodge models, giving vehicles an extended 150-foot range for secure and private network connections.

Distracted Driving Accident Attorney Michigan

As with all new inventions, the latest and greatest vehicle technology is not without its setbacks. When a driver is too busy changing the music, sending a text message, or consulting the multimedia system for directions, they are engaging in distracted driving behavior and are putting themselves and other drivers at risk of being involved in a distracted driving car crash.

Not only do these high-tech systems pose a car accident risk, but they also increase the likelihood of car hacking incidents. Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek conducted a controlled experiment to test the capabilities of the software, finding that they could remotely access a Jeep Wrangler and control its functions through its multimedia system. They were even able to cut the brakes and engine!

In response to the rising threat of car hacking, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accounced that "to ensure a robust cybersecurity environment for these dynamic new technologies, NHTSA adopted a layered research approach, modified its organizational structure, and is continually developing vital partnerships, encouraging members of the industry to take independent steps to help improve the cybersecurity posture of vehicles in the United States. NHTSA's goal is to stay ahead of potential vehicle cybersecurity challenges, and to continue seeking ways to address or avoid them altogether."

Despite the public’s desire for a wireless network while on the road, it comes at a price some are not willing to pay. It has been proven that the Wi-Fi systems in cars can be exploited. Until the guidelines and regulations concerning cybersecurity in cars and their multimedia systems are tested, improved and enforced, drivers must use their car's technology with caution in order to avoid being hacked. Drivers should also be wary of interacting with their car while driving in order to avoid distracted driving car accidents.


Multimedia systems are designed to make things easier for the driver since they allow the driver to be able to use the features of their smartphone, without actually using their phone. While this hands-free technology may help to prevent the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving, it doesn't complete eliminate distracted driving behaviors. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact The Michigan Law Firm PLLC. For a free consultation, call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM.

 

 

The 23rd Annual Woodward Dream Cruise Is Coming Up!

Residents and visitors to the Motor City are rejoicing as one of Metro Detroit’s most famous events is quickly approaching. The 23rd annual Woodward Dream Cruise will take place on Saturday, August 19th, 2017. For the first time, the Woodward Dream Cruise will be sponsored by Ford Motor Company because General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet brand discretely dropped their sponsorship after 6 years. Mark LaNeve, Vice President of US marketing sales and services for Ford, told the Detroit News, “(The) Dream Cruise is all about the sheer joy and freedom of the automobile, and Ford has always celebrated car culture. From Fiesta to GT, we’re obsessed with making driving fun, and we’re committed to celebrating that passion with enthusiasts of all ages in the birthplace of motoring.” 

Woodward Dream Cruise Car Crash Lawyer

The Dream Cruise originated as a fundraiser for a soccer field in Ferndale in 1995. Nelson House and a group of volunteers were hoping to recreate the old school car heydays of the 1950s and 1960s on Woodward Avenue, which was America’s first highway. To House's surprise, 250,000 people showed up! That was 10 times the expected number! Today, the Woodward Dream Cruise has evolved into the world’s largest one-day automotive event. The Detroit News describes how “spectators and cruisers travel to Metro Detroit, the birthplace of the American automobile, to demonstrate and participate in an event that celebrates an ongoing love affair with the automobile.”

The popularity of the yearly event only confirms the passion for old cars and connections to the auto industry’s long history that people everywhere enjoy. Each year, the Woodward Dream Cruise contributes $237 million to southeast Michigan's economy, along with attracting more than 1.3 million people to the event. The Detroit Free Press says 28% of these visitors are from outside the region. What keeps spectators coming back from more is the consistency of the old cars combined with the latest in motor vehicle technology.

Car Crash Lawyer Michigan Woodward Dream Cruise

President and CEO of the Dream Cruise, Tony Michaels, says, “There’s nostalgia, but we also have to think of younger generations,” other than the 1960s muscle car fans that first originated the event in 1995. Detroit automakers will display their latest performance and technology vehicles alongside the classics, appealing to all ages.  

The Woodward Dream Cruise itself might just be a one day event, but there are some other car related festivities happening in the Metro Detroit area in the days leading up to it. The week leading up to the Cruise will begin with Roadkill Nights on August 12, with Dodges drag racing down a part of Woodward Avenue in Pontiac, Michigan. Last year, the drag racing event was held the day before the Woodward Dream Cruise, but the hope is that moving it a week earlier will make it easier for more people to attend. 

As for the Woodward Dream Cruise attractions, the General Motors design staff will showcase their personal collector cars from 1 PM -7 PM on Tuesday, August 15, at Memorial Park, which is located at the intersection of Woodward Avenue and 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak. There will also be displays in Royal Oak, Michigan at Duggan’s Irish Pub and at Normandy Plaza. Ford owner clubs will also show their vehicles at Memorial Park in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan. 

The City of Ferndale, Michigan also has its own plans for the Woodward Dream Cruise as they have planned 3 days of Dream Cruise festivities beginning on Thursday, August 17. The events include a live broadcast of Detroit Public TV’s “Dream Cruise Road Show,” vintage police, fire, and military vehicles, TV and movie cars including the Batmobile, Munster Koach, and Monkeemobile, monster trucks, Mustangs of all eras, and a free outdoor screening of 1984 “Ghostbusters” movie. 

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The official start of the Woodward Dream Cruise will technically be on Friday, August 18, with a ribbon cutting at Woodward and 9 Mile in Ferndale, followed by a lights and sirens parade up the avenue in vintage emergency vehicles. As the countdown to the big day begins, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC wants to encourage motor vehicle safety at all times for spectators and drivers alike, so as to help prevent any car crashes or pedestrian accidents. Now, polish your old ‘Stang and roll down the roof, because the Dream Cruise is about to shift into full gear! 


There's just something about driving around in an antique convertible, top down and hair blowing in the summer breeze, that attracts thousands of people to the Woodward Dream Cruise each year. With motor vehicles of every shape and make cruising around Metro Detroit, it is hard for anyone to not enjoy the classic Michigan event. However, having so many drivers and spectators around so many vehicles can also increase the risk of car accidents and pedestrain crashes happening. If you or someone you know have been injured in an automobile crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Driving Road Rage Killing In Ada, Michigan

Road rage is once again to blame for claiming another victim in Ada, Michigan. In October 2016, ex-boxer Christian Hilman, 19, was driving his dirt bike home in front of General Motors retiree William McFarlan, 64, when McFarlan began honking his horn and flashing his lights at Hilman. Finally, Hilman had enough of McFarlan driving behind him and turned into a church parking lot where McFarlan decided to follow him. It is said the two engaged in a heated argument before McFarlan placed his hands on Hilman's neck and the two began to fight. Eyewitnesses say that the fight resulted in “McFarlan collapsing by his pickup truck and Hilman continuing to kick him.” After police were called, Hilman was arrested and McFarlan was rushed to the hospital for treatment of his injuries, including fractured ribs and a fractured skull. Unfortunately, nearly five weeks after the assault, McFarlan passed away due to the severity of his injuries.

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At first, Hilman would have only faced 10 years in prison with an assault charge, but now in light of McFarlan’s death, Hilman has been charged with murder in the second degree and is facing up to 100 years in prison. “I think just because someone gets angry in a road rage incident, it doesn’t justify assaulting and killing a man,'' said Blair Lachman, Kent County Assistant Prosecutor. However, Michael Bartish, a defense attorney, argues that, “Whatever happened, Mr. McFarlan [followed] Christian into that parking lot...There is no reason for that vehicle to have followed him into that parking lot unless the intent was for a fight.’’ Bartish feels that, Hilman a voluntary manslaughter charge would be more appropriate thatn a second degree murder charge, since the crime occurred in the heat of passion.

Tips To Handle Road Rage

Unfortunately, road rage is starting to become a common behavior on American roadways, due to the increase in the number of motorists on the road, an uptick in aggressive driving maneuvers, and personal factors affecting individual motorists. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC does not condone road rage or aggressive driving behaviors. Neither does DMV.org, who provided the following tips for those drivers who find themselves in driving situations in which they become angry at another driver or another driver engages in aggressive driving behavior towards them.

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  • Maintain your space. This tip does not only refer to keeping enough brake space between cars, but for drivers to do what they need to in order to distance themselves from stressful drivign situations and to remain calm behind the wheel. Playing calming music, a funny podcast, or simply planning ahead for their commute, can prevent drivers from becoming angry.

  • Avoid making eye contact. If the angry driver cannot make eye contact, they will hopefully fume for a moment and continue on their way.

  • Keep your hands on the wheel. Keeping hands busy at 10-and-2 and refraining from making obscene gestures can keep motorists from fanning the flames of anger from other drivers.

  • Show remorse. If a wrong was committed, be the bigger person and correct it by mouthing sorry, waving to the other driver to acknowledge the wrong, or moving out of their way so they can pass.

  • If all else fails - call the police. There may come a time when none of the above tips will help avoid an aggressive driving accident, and the agitated driver may proceed to commit bodily harm to a fellow motorist. In this case, if possible, drivers who find themselves in this situation should pull over and call the police.

Drivers who find themselves engaging in aggressive driving behaviors and have tried bullying someone off the road should remember that acting on violent urges, like what happened between Hilman and McFarlan, can lead to serious consequences. If police catch a driver in the act they could be fined, possibly face prison or jail time, not mention, the aggressive drive will will have to live with a severe assault or a road rage fatality on their conscience.


The altercation between McFarlan and Hilman should serve as a cautionary tale to those who feel they need to teach an aggressive driver a lesson. It is best that the proper authorities handle any road rage incidents, in order to prevent escalating a potential aggressive driving situation. Have you or a loved one been a victim of a road rage car accident? Contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. We know going through the legal process can be scary, but our firm is here to help victims of car accidents every step of the way. 

GM Ignition Switch Update

Earlier this year General Motors (GM) agreed to pay $1 million in a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC). The Detroit News reports that the civil penalty is a result of the SEC’s investigation into GM’s ignition switch recall. A recall that led to nearly 2.6 million motor vehicles to be serviced for faulty ignition switches that GM was aware of for more than 10 years and had refused to address. The malfunction in the ignition switches could flip the switch from the run position and prevent the airbags from deploying in case of a car crash and caused several injuries and linked to 124 deaths.  

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GM Ignition Switch Cost 

Despite the settlement agreement with the SEC, GM clarified that just because a settlement was reached with the SEC, did not mean they were admitting any wrongdoing. GM even made a statement that the settlement with the SEC, “does not call into question any of GM’s current or prior financial statements or its disclosures. Also, no material weakness or significant deficiency was found by the SEC.”

To date, the GM ignition-switch crisis has cost the company more than $2 billion in penalties, fines, and settlements including the $600 million spent in compensation and lawsuits to the victims and their families, a civil penalty that was worth $35 million to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and $900 million paid in a settlement to the Justice Department. So it comes as no surprise that GM is arguing that deaths and claims that occurred before their 2009 bankruptcy filing should not be admissible at court. 

GM Bankruptcy Appeal

 

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A federal court permitted claimants with cases involving wrongful death, personal injury and even economic loss to court with proper proof due to the fact that GM may have been aware of the ignition switch defect. GM argues that under bankruptcy law that there are not responsible for past liabilities related to “Old GM” and that they are essentially wiped out under bankruptcy law. But with the backing of the Supreme court, several hundred remaining claims made on or before 2009 can proceed to trial.  

“There are a lot of cases out there that either are going to have to be settled by G.M. or litigated, now that the Supreme Court is not getting involved,” said Robert C. Hilliard in The New York Times, a lawyer that is handling more than 200 claims against GM. 

In the meantime, GM is not accepting the Supreme court's ruling and will continue to fight and file appeals to remove the court's decision since it was not based on the merits of bankruptcy law. Those who have a case that takes place before 2009 should move quickly in submitting their claim so that it will be heard and possibly receive proper payment. 


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a civil litigation law firm in Birmingham, Michigan.  Our legal team handles personal injury lawsuits throughout the state.  Call a Michigan personal injury attorney for a free consult at 844.4MI.FIRM. You deserve a great attorney in your corner.

GM Safety Feature Prevents Children From Being Left in the Car

Child Safety Crash Lawyer

All too often, we hear about a parent leaving their child in a vehicle on a warm day, which may lead to the child’s death. Many parents forget their child was left in the car, become distracted, or think that a quick run into the supermarket won’t cause any harm. General Motors (GM) has found a potential solution to the problem, as the automaker is introducing a new feature on the 2017 GMC Acadia to help prevent these deaths. 

CNN Money reports that much like a seat belt alert, a warning tone will sound and a reminder to “Look in Rear Seat” will be displayed in the center of the Acadia’s speedometer. The feature will use the same sensor system that alerts the driver that one of the doors is open while the car is in drive. If those sensors detect a back door being opened and closed before the driver gets in and starts the car (or any time while the engine is running) then the back seat warning is triggered. According to Tricia Morrow, GM’s Global Safety Strategy Engineer, the feature is not optional and will be included in all new Acadias. 

On very warm days, it doesn’t take very long for small children to be overcome by the heat inside a vehicle. According to NoHeatStroke.org, 12 children have already died from heatstroke while sitting in a car this year. In 2015, 24 children died due to being left in the car too long. Since 1998, an average of 37 children died every year while trapped inside the vehicle.

More than half of these cases are due to parents forgetting their child was even in the car in the first place. This is even more likely to happen when the driver has a change in their everyday routine and is not used to having a child in the car with them.  Oftentimes, when children are left forgotten in parked cars, there is also a risk of the child getting hurt by way of parked car accidents. Even cars in a parking lot can be hit by passing by vehicles. And in the event that there is a child in the back seat, this could lead to severe injury or even death.

GM is planning on introducing this back seat warning feature for other four-door GM models in the future, Morrow stated. Morrow suggests that parents who are carrying small children in the back seat can put a laptop, cell phone or other item they ordinarily need back there as well, so that when it’s time to get out of the car at their destination, they will look to the back seat and see their child. 


Parents should never leave their child unattended in the car, but it is specially dangerous during the summer time when temperatures within the car can reach anywhere from 100 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 10 minutes. If you or somebody you know has been involved in a car accident in which a child was left in a vehicle, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

General Motors May Pay $550 Million For Airbag Replacement

Takata Airbag Recall Lawyer

General Motors Company (GM) could be pulling out their checkbook soon, and it’s going to be for a hefty cost. If U.S. auto safety regulators require GM to recall an additional 4.3 million of its vehicles in order to replace Takata-made airbag inflators, the company stands to lose up to $550 million according to Fortune

However, the automaker will not be paying up without a fight. GM reported in its second-quarter earnings report that the Takata airbag inflators in GM vehicles are performing as designed and will not pose an unreasonable risk through 2019, if at all. If regulators decide that GM is responsible for paying for the replacement air bags, the company estimates a cost up to $320 million for the initial 2.5 million vehicles that could be at risk. Additionally, 4.3 million vehicles have been classified as potential danger risks because of Takata defects, which could bump the price tag up to $550 million in total. 

Takata has been in the national spotlight for the past few years with airbag defects causing numerous problems including serious injuries and fatalities. Takata airbags have been deemed dangerous because they can explode violently under extensive heat conditions, sending pieces of metal shrapnel everywhere, including into drivers. These incidents have led to a steady rise in recalls and lawsuits against the company. Fortune reports that while GM doesn’t believe there is a safety issue in any of its vehicles, the company filed a preliminary defect report in May which covered 2.5 million of trucks and sport utility vehicles. 

The ball is now in GM’s court, as they have a chance to prove to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the inflators do not pose a risk to safety for drivers. If GM can’t convince the NHTSA by September, they will be required to foot the bill. 


If your vehicle has been identified as one of the vehicles that have been recalled due to the Takata airbag defect, or any other vehicle defect, its important that you get your car replaced. Car defects can serve as a serious threat to drivers and passengers, as they may cause the driver to lose control of the car. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an auto accident which was caused by a car defect, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will work with you to get you the help you deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

GM Offering Reimbursement Plans for 2016 Crossover Owners

GM Car Accident Lawyer

General Motors Company (GM) is looking to make amends for overstating the fuel economy of some of its 2016 crossover models. The Detroit, Michigan based auto company will be offering between $450 and $900 or an extended warranty to owners of the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave. These vehicles featured a window sticker that overstated the fuel economy by 1 to 2 miles per gallon.  

GM is offering its customers a debit card or a 48-month/60,000-mile protection plan which is designed for high-mileage customers. The debit card will carry $450 for front-wheel drive vehicle customers and $900 for all-wheel drivers. While GM declined to comment on the Detroit Free Press article regarding the cost of these offers, if all eligible owners chose the gift card option, and the average card was worth $675, the cost would be somewhere around a $90 billion loss for the company. 

GM said that the difference in the predicted vs. actual fuel economy was related to new emissions-related hardware. While testing the 2016 system, engineers found that the actual fuel economy was 1 or 2 mpg lower than the 2015 models, yet the stickers for the 2016 models remained the same.

GM Car Accident Lawyer

This might not even be the first year that this type of discrepancy took place. Consumer Reports has suggested that the same type of error regarding fuel economy may have also happened on past models for the crossover vehicles. Jake Fisher, Director of Automotive Testing for Consumer Reports reviewed their own fuel economy tests from as far back as 2007 models and found that they reached an average of 15 mpg in combined city and highway driving on the Enclave and 16 mpg on the Traverse. The EPA-Certified number for that model year was 18 m.p.g for both.

GM informed its dealers of the reimbursement plan this past Friday, and owners will be receiving letters in the mail regarding their options beginning Wednesday. Potential car owners should ask their dealer about the vehicle's fuel economy and how much it will save them at the gas pump.


While crossovers are seen as a safer option compared to cars, they are not immune from getting involved in a dangerous car accident. If you or somebody you know has been involved in a car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Accidents can be the result of recklessness, distracted or impaired driving, and can cause damaging injuries. Our attorneys are highly experienced and will give you the one-on-one consultation you deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.