In the wake of seemingly interminable Congressional hearings about General Motors’ defective ignition switch fiasco, we’ve seen a lot of fist shaking and finger pointing.
- How and why did the company (and federal regulators who were supposed to oversee GM) allow dangerous cars on American roads for so long?
- Who should be punished?
- What systems and processes should be put in place to prevent more problems with GM?
New York Times reporters Hilary Stout, Bill Vlasic, Danielle Ivory and Rebecca R. Ruizjune, effectively shined light on the human element of this story in their blockbuster June 22nd New York Times piece, “GM Prepares to Count Cost of Suffering.”
The article begins by telling the terrifying story of Mykia Jordan, whose GM accident left her in a coma for 3 weeks. The crash also badly scarred her jaw and left her with a permanent limp at the tender age of 23. Per the New York Times story, “she only knows what the police know and others told her – that in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, with a three-month-old strapped in a car seat, she lost control of her Chevrolet Cobalt on a freeway ramp in Detroit. It crashed into a cement barrier and overturned, crushing the roof around her. The airbags did not deploy.”
Investigators now believe that her October 2012 accident had been caused by a defective ignition switch glitch in her Cobalt. The New York Times journalists say that what happened to Jordan “personifies” the epic crisis that confronts both the automaker and federal regulators — a crisis that allowed 2.6 million defective GM vehicles to roam U.S. roads for years.
How will GM handle the hundreds of injury claims and potentially billions of dollars in payout amounts?
People want an accurate, but fair process. To that end, GM has been working with a victim-compensation expert, Kenneth Feinberg, who has been putting together a plan to pay victims and their families. GM has already been staggering under a $35 million federal penalty, unstinting bad press, and multiple congressional hearings, and, per the NYT story, “the list of injury survivors is long and tragic.”
The New York Times writers emphasized that “getting the [victims compensation] plan right is crucial. Too generous, and it could slow the automakers come back from bankruptcy; not generous enough, and victims will sue for justice [leading to] costly court battles, further dragging out the company’s turmoil.”
If someone you know or love has been injured due to a faulty GM ignition switch or other defective auto part, the Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys at Regan, Zambri & Long would be happy to provide a free and personal consultation. Call us now at (202) 463-3030.