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General Motors could face criminal charges

Posted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2015   

After more than a year of deliberation by federal prosecutors, General Motors may be held criminally responsible for their failure to disclose an ignition switch defect that is linked to at least 104 fatal accidents. Over the last year, G.M. has recalled more than 30 million vehicles worldwide.

At the moment, investigators with the Justice Department are in the process of negotiating a penalty with G.M. that is thought to exceed the $1.2 billion benchmark that Toyota paid last year. Unlike Toyota, however, G.M. is reportedly eager to conclude the investigation. As a result, it is believed that the company will likely gain some leniency for their cooperation.

Though the Justice Department’s investigators identified criminal wrongdoing in the case, prosecutors and G.M. are also still in negotiations as to which elements of misconduct the company will be willing to admit. Criminal charges may also be sought against a number of former G.M. employees.

It is possible that G.M. may be forced to plead guilty to a crime, but federal prosecutors may choose to negotiate a deferred-prosecution agreement similar to that negotiated with Toyota. If they elect to pursue the latter scenario, G.M. would likely also be expected to allow regulators to continue to review its safety practices, along with any other stipulations negotiated by federal prosecutors.

Whatever happens with the Justice Department, G.M. still faces an uphill battle with state attorneys general who are pursuing consumer fraud investigations, in addition to numerous lawsuits for personal injury and wrongful death.


Expanded Takata Recall Becomes Largest Automotive Recall in American History

Posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2015   

After denying airbag defects in their products for more than a decade, Takata doubled their recall of U.S. vehicles equipped with potentially dangerous airbags this past Tuesday, resulting in a total of almost 34 million recalled vehicles. Takata has been one of the largest suppliers of airbags for automobiles for several decades, and because of this expanded recall, one in seven U.S. cars is now recalled, making this the largest recall of automobiles in American history. To date, six deaths and over 100 injuries have resulted from the malfunctioning Takata airbags. Honda, Nissan, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and BMW are among the automakers impacted by the faulty airbag system.

Takata was investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2009 for similar problems with their airbags. The case was shut down six months later due to inadequate evidence. However, reports as early as 2000 were discovered that blamed Takata for faulty airbag systems. The new discovery alludes to a flaw in the design of the airbags that causes excessive force from the gas that inflates the airbag, causing dangerous explosions.

Representatives from Takata stated that they were committed to working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and automakers to promote driver safety. More specifics about newly recalled makes and models are expected to come out in the next few days.


Both drivers killed in Highland Township head-on collision

Posted on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015   

Both drivers were killed in a head-on crash between a car and a pickup truck at around 8 a.m. in Highland Township, the 9&10 News reported on April 27.

The accident occurred on the M-115 near 22 mile road when a car swerved across the center line and crashed into a red pickup truck. The local police department will continue to piece together the events to determine more comprehensively what happened.

Police officials have yet to ascertain the identity of one of the drivers who perished in the traffic accident, although the Nissan the person drove had Tennessee license plates. The other driver was identified as an individual from Bay City.

Sergeant Scott Bates said the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department is prepared to deploy additional patrols during high travel times, like Memorial Day, to ensure that there will be adequate responses to vehicular accidents. The M-115 in particular is one of the most traveled roads in the area.


100 fatal claims in GM defect case approved for compensation

Posted on Monday, May 18th, 2015   

Although General Motors originally estimated the number of deaths tied to its faulty ignition switch at 13, the company’s claims process has, so far, recognized 100 fatalities that were directly linked to this defect, according to a May 11 article in the New York Times.

Kenneth Feinberg, a compensation expert, was hired by GM to administer the claims process. In addition to the 100 fatality claims deemed eligible, 184 injury claims have been approved for settlement. Over 500 injury claims and 37 fatality claims still remain to be reviewed.

The defective ignition switch has gained particular notoriety due to the ten years it went unacknowledged and, in some instances, purposefully concealed from the public.

The Nashville personal injury attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP, are dedicated to representing those who have been injured in accidents due to automotive defects. If this has happened to you, our legal team may be able to help you fight for compensation to cover medical costs and other damages. Call our offices at (615) 277-2765 today.


NHTSA investigates recall after Jeeps continue to catch fire

Posted on Tuesday, May 12th, 2015   

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating the Jeep and Dodge SUV recall initiated last July by Fiat Chrysler after reports of fires occurring even after repairs, according to The New York Times on May 5.

The original recall included Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos from the model years 2011-2014. Around 895,000 vehicles were recalled due to defective wiring in the sun visor that could short circuit and incite fire. However, federal auto safety regulators have received eight reports of fire in vehicles that had already gone through repairs.

One Jeep Grand Cherokee owner said that the vehicle filled with smoke while he was driving, and another vehicle owner told the NHTSA that the sun visor burst into flames. Repairs for the recalled vehicles involved installing a protective plastic covering around the visor’s wiring.

A Fiat Chrysler spokesperson said the company was cooperating with the NHTSA in the follow-up investigation.

The attorneys of Pohl & Berk, LLP, know that great injury and expense can result from an accident caused by a defective vehicle. Our Nashville legal team may help you pursue financial compensation to cover your damages from the automaker responsible. Call our offices at (615) 277-2765 today to learn more.

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