GM Settles Two Ignition Switch Injury Lawsuits

Image courtesy of (paul bica)

Nearly two years after General Motors’ decades-long ignition switch defect came to light, the automaker continues to face hundreds of lawsuits. However, the company recently settled a pair of complaints that could set the tone for future litigation.

Reuters reports that GM agreed to settle two so-called bellwether lawsuits, which seek to test the legal boundaries of hundreds of claims against the carmaker, for undisclosed amounts.

A lawyer representing the two cases said the settlements show “momentum” in GM’s desire to put the issue behind it.

The first settled case involved a 2011 Virginia crash of a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The woman was driving at a low speed when she lost control of her car and hit a stone wall, Reuters reports. The vehicle’s airbags didn’t deploy and the woman suffered a head injury, broken jaw, and broken hip.

The second case involved the 2013 crash of a 2003 Saturn Ion in Kentucky. The woman lost control of the vehicle after swerving to hit a deer. When she was unable to regain control of the Ion, it crashed into tree, but the airbags failed to deploy. Reuters reports the woman broke her sternum and suffered multiple neck fractures.

While GM agreed to settle these two cases, that hasn’t been the case for some of the bellwether cases it’s already faced.

Reuters reports that, so far, one federal bellwether case was dropped before trial, while GM won two and settled three others. Four additional cases are set to be heard in 2017 and 2018.

In addition to the recently settled cases, GM has already agreed to pay nearly $875 million to settle death and injury claims stemming from the ignition defect. That amount including $594.5 million for 124 death and 275 injury claims administered by the company’s victim compensation fund that concluded reviews last year.

Still, the company faces a long line of other lawsuits, which could include those involving crashed that occurred before 2009, when the company filed for bankruptcy.

General Motors settles 2 bellwether ignition switch cases [The Associated Press]