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Hundreds Dead in GM Vehicles with Defective Airbags: Report
A review of airbag failures by the Friedman Research Corporation from 2003 to 2012 looked at cases in which GM airbags failed to deploy, but it did not try to evaluate what caused the crashes.
Among the accidents reviewed was a crash that killed 25-year-old Hasaya Chansuthus, who in the early hours of December 31, 2009, was driving her 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt in the rain around Murfreesboro, Tennessee, when she sideswiped a car and crashed head-on into a tree at 70 miles an hour, with the vehicle's airbags failing to deploy.
Ms. Chansuthus’s brother David said the family was troubled by the airbag’s failure and the fact that his sister had hit her head on the steering wheel, which he said suggested that the seat belt had failed to lock.
He said the family had not heard about ignition problems with the Cobalt until recent reports, but suspected something might have gone wrong with the power system the night of the accident, given the problems with the airbags and the seat belt lock.
Chansuthus’s family filed a complaint with GM and later filed a formal lawsuit against the automaker. The case was settled in February 2011 for an undisclosed sum.
The findings by Friedman Research add to mounting reports of problems that went unresolved before GM announced in February 2014 that it was recalling more than 1.6 million cars worldwide because of the defective switch that could shut off the engine and airbags while the car was in motion.
At least a dozen deaths have been linked to the defective switch in the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts and 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, as well as 4 other models manufactured by GM.
How Many GM Vehicles Were Recalled Over Defective Ignition Switches?
On February 6, 2014, GM recalled about 800,000 vehicles that were manufactured with faulty ignition switches which could shut off the engine while the car was in motion, thereby preventing the airbags from inflating. The automaker continued to recall additional models in the ensuing months, resulting in nearly 30 million vehicles recalled worldwide and paid compensation for 124 deaths.
A subsequent investigation found that the ignition switch defect had been known to GM for at least a decade prior to the recall being issued. As part of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, GM agreed to forfeit $900 million to the U.S. Federal Government.
How Much Can I Get From a GM Ignition Switch Settlement?
A Class Member must have filed an eligible claim in order to receive a payment from the $121. 1 million Settlement Fund. Claims must have been postmarked, emailed, or submitted online by April 20, 2021.
Are My Airbags Being Recalled?
Visit NHTSA.gov/recalls to find out if your car or truck is being recalled for potentially defective Takata airbags. Search using your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and your search result will tell you if your vehicle is included in this recall or any other safety recall. Call your local dealer to schedule a free repair.
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Again, if you or a loved one were injured or killed in an auto accident while driving a GM vehicle where the airbags failed to deploy, you should fill out the form below and contact the law firm of Schmidt & Clark, LLP, immediately for a free consultation.
You may be entitled to a settlement for medical costs and a lawyer can help.