Product Liability suites arise when manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers or any entity that makes products accessible to the public are held liable for any harm or injuries that those products cause. Essentially product liability cases are a type of negligence. A negligence claim consists of a duty owned; a breach of duty; the breach causes a plaintiff injury; said breach caused injury or damages. Recently, GM has come under fire for their ignition malfunction which causes airbags to deploy unexpectedly while driving the vehicle. Fatalities have been numerous; recent evidence shows that GM was aware of the malfunction yet pushed the cars to market regardless.
The Travesty of GM’s Negligence
The death toll resulting for GM’s dysfunctional ignition switch has climbed to thirty-three deaths, and thirty-nine injuries. This however is far from the total number of consumers afflicted by GM’s negligence. It is estimated that 2.6 million cars have the defect. Indeed, GM’s kill switch may be the most egregious case of product liability to date.
Extending the Deadline to Recoup Losses
In order to mitigate the atrocity perpetrated by GM, Kenneth Fienberg, who is responsible for handling the claims resulting from the dysfunctional ignition switch, extended the deadline to accept claims until January 31, 2015. Fienberg argues that claims for mass negligence usually are not filed until the last three years of the deadline. He cites the BP oil spill fund to support this contention. Also, Fienberg claims to have notified 850,000 owners of cars who potentially have the defect over the past month. And yet, the New York Times recently discovered that GM has failed to notify one of the first 13 people’s family who initially died as a result of the malfunction. Critics are skeptical of anything GM reports to the media regarding the dysfunctional ignition switch.
Good News on the Horizon
The attorney general of Arizona has filed a law suit against the company for defrauding consumers in the state for an estimated $ 3 billion dollars.