The number of General Motors automobiles recalled due to defective ignition switches has risen to over 28 Million. Just as amazing are the reports that GM knew about the problem with the switches for over a decade. As a products liability attorney, that doesn't surprise me. Time and time again, I have seen companies bury their heads in the sand when they believe there might be a safety risk with one of their products. Sometimes they cover it up and hope that it never comes to light.
As much as it costs to design and test products, it costs even more to go back to the drawing board and make modifications to eliminate hazards. Think about the fact that it usually takes five years or more for a new model car to go from a sketch pad to the assembly line.
Although evidence that a manufacturer knew about a defect is helpful when it comes to making a claim for personal injury or wrongful death, in Florida, it is not necessary. Under Florida law, a claimant need only prove that the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous. This is referred to as "strict liability". In other words, It does not matter whether or not the company was negligent (i.e., that they knew or should have known that the product was defective). Even if a manufacturer legitimately had no idea that their product was unreasonably dangerous, they are still held "strictly liable" for someone's injuries or death (and for any property damage).
"Strict Liability" also applies to distributors and sellers of the product. Therefore, in the case of injuries or death caused by a defective GM ignition switch, the dealership who sold the vehicle could also be liable.
Injury victims of the GM ignition switch defect should also be aware that the company has set up a compensation fund. Those who fit certain criteria can apply to receive money from the fund in lieu of litigation. Anyone who believes that they may have been injured by a GM defective ignition switch should contact a qualified attorney immediately to discuss their options.
If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to contact our Miami injury attorneys by calling 888.395.9255 or filling out a free case evaluation form.