By: Allan M. Siegel
The recent controversy sparked by General Motors (GM) and its ignition switch defect has become a topic of national interest. The defect – which can cause the ignition switch to move from the "on" position and into the "accessory" or "off" position – can cause electrical failure and power shut-offs to steering, brakes, and air bag systems. After numerous crashes, injuries, and a number of deaths have been linked to the defect, GM issued a series of recalls for millions of vehicles.
GM's case is drawing even more scrutiny aside from the defect itself. This is because GM knew of the defect nearly a decade ago, and failed to take any reasonable measures to fix the problem. For many, GM's failure to address the problem was the most unforgivable form of negligence.
Exposing Negligence, Demanding Accountability
GM's case is one that demands accountability, and the only way to ensure that someone is held accountable is through the civil justice system, which includes personal injury claims. By raising important questions, civil cases can find answers to why GM failed to ensure the safety of its products and consumers, as well as why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) failed in its regulation duties.
CNN's Michael Smerconish recently commented on an important aspect of the civil justice system and how it benefits not only victims, but also all Americans. Smerconish noted that we know what we know today about GM's negligence and failures because of the victims and families who chose to take action, assert their legal rights, and expose GM's negligence. This, in many respects, is why the civil justice system is so powerful and important – it acts as a check on the power of product manufacturers more vigilant than the government and regulators. You can see Smerconish discussing the case on
Promoting Change & Protecting Public Safety
Exposing negligence and demanding accountability through the civil justice system – especially on a level that affects millions of people – can help to expose things that need to be changed, ensure that those changes are made, and prevent similar mistakes and tragedies from happening in the future. It also allows victims and families who have suffered harm through no fault of their own to hold wrongdoers responsible, and to recover the compensation they need and deserve. It is only unfortunate positive change comes after the fact that victims and families have already been hurt, and often only as a result of the filing of personal injury claims.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, our Washington, DC car accident attorneys practice personal injury law because we believe in justice and complete compensation for victims. We advocate for the injured, especially when their voice can be easily silenced by large corporations. Although corporations like GM are extremely powerful, the civil justice system is more so.
If you have questions about the GM recall or your rights after an auto accident, call 202-644-8303 for a FREE consultation. We represent victims and families throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.