On September 17, 2015, GM announced it had settled the case of its faulty ignition switches with the federal government for $900 million. But whether the penalty satisfies the families of the 124 deaths caused by the defect remains to be seen.

After nearly a decade of cover-up, GM finally announced a recall of faulty ignition switches in February 2014. Since then, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been trying to pin down who is responsible for the delay, which it believed could be criminally negligent.

After almost a year of investigation and negotiation, the government and the automaker have settled the case. On September 17, 2015, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told the L.A. Times:

“General Motors not only failed to disclose this deadly defect, . . . it actively concealed the truth from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the public. Today’s announcement sends a message to manufacturers: Deception and delay are unacceptable, and the price for engaging in such behavior is high.”

The automaker will pay $900 million in fines and will submit to a three year “deferred prosecution agreement” – probation for corporations – in which it will submit to independent supervision to avoid any future misconduct. If GM cooperates with the supervision, at the end of the three years, two criminal charges against the corporation will be dismissed.

“We didn’t do our jobs,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra told employees in a 15-minute briefing covered by M-Live. “As part of our apology to the victims, we promised to take responsibility for our actions. . . . So we accept the penalties being announced today because they are part of being held accountable.”

Fox 2 Detroit asked Lemon Lawyer Dani K. Liblang what she thought of the deal:

“I certainly think it’s an admission. It should’ve handled it differently.”

The penalties do nothing for the families of the families of the 124 people who died because of the cover-up, including one Liblang Law Firm client. In August 2015, GM rejected 91% of the claims filed against it, claiming they were unrelated to the faulty ignition switch.

“They only covered the first wave of recalls, even though there were several waves of recalls dealing with the exact same problem,” Liblang told Fox 2. “Many other people suffered injury or death.”

What the future holds for those other injured motorists remains to be seen. As GM hopes to put the faulty ignition switch investigations behind it, their injuries remain unrecognized and uncompensated.

Dani K. Liblang and The Liblang Law Firm, P.C. have represented the victims of vehicle defects for over 30 years. She will continue to fight against automakers like GM who try to avoid responsibility when their negligence causes serious injury or death. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury as the result of a vehicle defect, contact The Liblang Law Firm, P.C., today for a free consultation.

Dani Liblang

Author Dani Liblang

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