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GM recalls vehicles for faulty ignition switches

GM issued a massive recall of 778,562 vehicles after six deaths were reported in accidents that involved defective ignition switches in the vehicles. The models involved were the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and the 2007 Pontiac G5 compacts, and the recall might affect vehicle owners in Georgia.

The defective switches cause the ignition to shut off if it the switch is jolted. Additionally, the switch can also be moved from 'run" to 'off" by heavy key rings, causing stalling and braking issues, as well as preventing the air bags from deploying in certain situations. To correct the problem, the switch must be replaced. GM has reported that at least 22 car accidents have been linked to the defective switch problem. The six deaths were in five crashes where the front air bags did not deploy upon impact. However, GM also said that all were in accidents where high speeds were involved and two of the crashes alcohol was also a factor.

The recall may be difficult to complete for a number of reasons. The cars in question have been off the market for a number of years, and many of the vehicles have now passed on to second and third owners who might not have registered with the car maker. According to an industry expert, GM will have to spend a lot of time and money to make the recall successful. As the recall begins, the automaker is suggesting that owner remove excessive weight from key rings to avoid the defect.

In an accident involving the recalled vehicles, a personal injury lawyer representing an injured plaintiff might use the information provided by the police report as well as the information released with the recall in a civil claim that seeks compensation. The plaintiff might receive compensation for the hospital and treatment costs incurred and for lost wages due to missing work.

Source: USA Today, "6 killed in GM cars with faulty ignition switches", James R. Healey, February 14, 2014

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