Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

General Motors to Pay $900 Million Settlement for Faulty Ignition Switch Charges

Published on Sep 26, 2015 at 5:52 pm in Auto Product Liability.

General Motors has reached a 900-million-dollar settlement with the U.S. Justice Department settling charges that the company failed to obey federal laws requiring prompt disclosure of safety problems.  The company manufactured faulty ignition switches that were linked to more than 120 deaths, numerous injuries, and massive recalls of affected vehicles.  The ignition switch defect caused small cars to turn off suddenly, cutting off the engine power and disabling the airbags.

The penalty fees are a result, not from the company’s manufacturing of a defective product, but of their delay in reporting the problem to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for more than a decade.  The issue was publicly disclosed in early 2014, after which GM created and funded an independently administered fund to examine incident reports and offer settlements to victims.  The fund has approved settlement offers for families of 124 victims who were killed and 275 who were injured.  GM is expected to pay as much as 575 million dollars in private settlements in addition to the 900 million dollars to the Justice Department.

The investigation did not find any one employee at General Motors responsible for the defect, concluding that the problems stemmed from a collective failure at the automaker.  Investigators found that engineers, attorneys, and mid-level corporate executives had neglected to grasp the significance of the matter or simply failed to follow federal guidelines for reporting serious defects.  Following the release of an internal investigation report, GM fired 15 employees linked to the negligence.

The General Motors settlement is widely being compared to the 1.2 billion dollar settlement Toyota paid for covering up defects that caused unintended acceleration in its vehicles.  General Motors is required to pay a dollar amount that is substantially lower than what Toyota paid and for a defect that caused greater harm to its consumers.  General Motors has been cooperative with the proceedings, potentially resulting in this lower settlement.

Automobile makers have a responsibility to report known defects to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration within five days of learning of a problem.  Consumers should be able to trust that manufacturers are producing safe products.  The U.S. Justice Department aims to hold companies who violate safety regulations responsible for their wrongdoing.  If you wish to learn more about your rights for driving a safely manufactured vehicle, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Legal & Firm News

Chicago Fire Dept. Paramedic Fired After Allegedly Failing To Care for Patient

An internal affairs investigation conducted by the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) determined that one of its first responders failed to assess and attend to a patient in acute respiratory distress. The investigation also alleges that the paramedic falsified reports in an attempt to cover up his failings. Although no criminal charges have been filed, the […]

Read More

What Causes Most Rear-End Accidents?

Were you recently involved in a car accident? If so, it likely involved being hit from behind. Rear-end accidents are the most common type of car crash in the United States, and the injuries and damages associated with these types of collisions tend to be severe. The car accident attorneys at Thomas Law Offices want […]

Read More

Who’s Liable in an Accident Involving a Pothole?

If you’ve ever been in a pothole accident, you may wonder who’s liable; the answer to that question may surprise you. In Illinois, the law is clear: cities and other authorized entities are responsible for maintaining and repairing the roadways. Unfortunately, liability isn’t so cut and dry. If you were injured from pothole damage here […]

Read More
Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
National Civil Justice Institute - Trustee
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
Martindale Hubbell Preeminent
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion