O’Connor, Acciani & Levy Continue Investigating GM Ignition Switch Recall after NHTSA’s Accuses Company of Choosing Costs over Safety Concerns

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General Motors may have rejected a safer version of its recalled ignition switches in favor of a cheaper, less reliable switch, say safety advocates at the NHTSA

O'Connor, Acciani & Levy
Recent allegations that GM fraudulently concealed defects in the ignition switches may create a legal basis for the bankruptcy judge to allow [claims against GM] to proceed.

The Ohio auto accident firm O’Connor, Acciani & Levy is continuing to investigate injuries and wrongful deaths related to General Motor’s February vehicle recall after new allegations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Center for Auto Safety emerged.(1) These organizations are now questioning the company’s decision to reject an improved ignition switch which was designed in 2001 but disregarded in favor of the cheaper original component.

A Bloomberg report released on April 16 concerned a letter to GM’s CEO Mary Barra from the former head of the NHTSA Joan Claybrook and Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety Clarence Ditlow. According to the report, Claybrook and Ditlow alleged that the automaker chose to utilize a cheaper part for use in its 2003 Chevrolet Cobalts and other recalled vehicles, rather than a component which the agencies deemed to be a more effective design. The choice to use the cheaper switch may have contributed to 13 deaths associated with failures in the ignition switch.

An additional article from Reuters on the same day reported that legal counsel for General Motors filed motions in several lawsuits which concern the defective ignition switches. GM’s motions request that these lawsuits be stayed until a federal bankruptcy judge can rule on the issue of whether or not General Motors’ 2009 bankruptcy case barred the plaintiffs from filing the lawsuits.

"It is very challenging to hold a company which has emerged from bankruptcy responsible for actions that occurred prior to its bankruptcy filing. Victims of General Motors’ faulty ignition switches who were injured prior to the company’s 2009 bankruptcy case will have a difficult time receiving compensation, since GM likely has no legal obligation to pay pre-2009 claims," said Henry D. Acciani, partner at O'Connor, Acciani & Levy. "However, recent allegations that GM fraudulently concealed defects in the ignition switches may create a legal basis for the bankruptcy judge to allow these cases to proceed."

O’Connor, Acciani & Levy is now offering free legal consultations to anyone who believes his or her accident was a result of the defective ignition switch in one of GM’s recalled vehicles. Persons who wish to report an injury or wrongful death associated with a defective GM vehicle can contact the firm through its website or by calling 1 (877) 288-3241.

About O’Connor, Acciani & Levy

For over 30 years, the attorneys of O’Connor, Acciani & Levy have been committed to helping all those who have been injured by the actions or negligence of another person or entity. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based personal injury law firm handles all types of personal injury claims including auto accident injuries, dangerous drug litigation, medical malpractice, product liability claims, premises liability and wrongful death claims. For a free and confidential case evaluation, contact O’Connor, Acciani & Levy by visiting oal-law.com or by calling (877) 288-3241 today.

O’Connor, Acciani & Levy
1014 Vine Street, Suite 220
P.O. Box 11050
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(877) 288-3241-7000

1.    “GM Vetoed Better Ignition Part to Save Money, Advocates Say”, April 16, 2014, http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-04-16/gm-said-to-reject-better-ignition-part-in-2001-to-save-money
2.    “Senator: GM Engineer Lied over Deadly Ignition Switch,” April 2, 2014, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/04/02/barra-gm-recall-senate/7195135/

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