As Louisiana drivers may know, General Motors recalled 2.6 million motor vehicles for ignition switch defects in 2014. Some individuals convicted of causing vehicular homicide are appealing their cases, citing the defects. In several cases, the convictions have been overturned. Determining fault in an accident is important to recovering damages. In these cases, fault may lie not with another driver but with a car manufacturer.
Although more than one case is involved, some after the recall began, one occurred in 2006. In May of that year, an 18-year-old New York man, driving a 2006 Cobalt, lost control of his vehicle. The incident caused the death of an 18-year-old passenger and the driver was charged with negligent homicide. After pleading guilty, he spent six months in jail. Nine years later the man accepted a settlement from GM and is challenging his conviction.
In another case that occurred in September 2010, a minor was killed when a Chevrolet Cobalt lost power. The driver pleaded guilty and was jailed for three months. In August, her plea was vacated due to new evidence in the case. Although the carmaker said in a letter the defect may have caused the accident, the prosecutor appealed the decision.
The alleged wrongful convictions now number four. Since the defect, rather than driver negligence, appears to have been the proximate cause of the underlying accidents, this may affect personal injury cases in the future. Attorneys may target the liability of the manufacturers in the death or injury of another individual.
When car accidents result in injuries to others on the road, the financial consequences to the victims can be significant. A personal injury attorney representing such a victim might examine the accident investigation report and other evidence in order to pinpoint the cause of the crash and thus the party or parties who should be held responsible for the payment of damages.