General Motors Stalls and Crashes – What it means for victims.

March 27, 2014 | By R. Brendan Dummigan of Pickett Dummigan LLP

motor vehicle accidentGeneral Motors (GM) is being investigated by Congress for delaying a product recall when GM was aware of ignition-switch defects. The defects affected six models manufactured between 2003 and 2007. These models are: 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts; the 2007 Pontiac G5; 2003-2007 Saturn Ions; 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs; 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstices and the 2007 Saturn Sky.

The ignition switch defects could cause a vehicle to shut down abruptly, stopping the engine and locking controls. This is especially dangerous because airbags would also be powered off and would not deploy if the event of a crash. Hundreds of stalls have been reported, and at least 13 deaths have been attributed to the ignition defects. Many of these problems have been known since 2004. However, GM did not recall the vehicles until February 13, 2014.

For victims injured by GM’s ignition fiasco, the news could get worse. GM filed for bankruptcy on June 1, 2009. As a result, victims injured or killed before that date may not be able to collect compensation against a dissolved company. Even though the “new” GM has the exact same name, it is legally separate company. However, victims injured by GM’s defective cars before June 1, 2009 may still have other legal claims available to them. Distributors of GM vehicles may still be responsible for selling dangerous cars. Many distributors are still indemnified (or “covered”) by the new GM. As a result, victims injured before June 1, 2009 may still be able to hold GM responsible.

It is important to be aware of the fact that in very state there is a statute of limitations and a victim only has so long to bring a claim before it is lost forever. A statute of limitations is a time period or deadline in which a person needs to file a legal complaint in Oregon. For motor vehicle accidents, the statute of limitations is usually 2 years. Product liability cases, such as the GM ignition switch product defect, has a much longer statute of limitations; you should consult with a lawyer to determine the applicable limitation period.

For these reasons, a person who has been injured because of GM’s irresponsible behavior should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to analyze and explain to you your legal rights and remedies. The attorneys at Pickett Dummigan LLP have decades of experience helping victims discover solutions. For a free consultation, call us at 503-405-8037 or visit our website at

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