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Families reject compensation after auto defect tied to fatalities

Although parents may feel their children are safe while the parents are behind the wheel, sometimes parents are not in total control. On occasion, loved ones may suffer injuries due to auto defects.

General Motors has recently been under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons after it delayed the recall of 2.6 million vehicles. The vehicles have an ignition switch defect, which can cause the vehicles to turn off while driving, disabling power steering and leaving the driver and passengers helpless. To further add to the publicity nightmare, the car manufacturer admits that the employees of the company were aware of the defect for more than ten years before the recall. The defect has been attributed to over a dozen fatalities.

The car company claims that only 13 deaths are linked to the defective automobile part. All these accidents were reported to be head-on collisions, where the air bags did not deploy. An attorney and meditator hired by the company announced the company's decision to compensate the families of the deceased nearly $1 million each; however, the families may receive more compensation if the vehicle involved in the fatality had a faulty switch. The families would lose the right to file a suit against the car company if they choose to take the compensation that has been offered.

Two families have already rejected the settlement offer and state that they would prefer taking the car company to court. One of the families lost their child when their car spun out of control, hit another vehicle and rolled over. As this was not a head-on collision, it was not added to the list of accidents that happened due to the defective part. The family of the loved one had previously settled the suit, but now wants to reopen the suit after learning that the company was aware of the defect.

Many vehicles are recalled every year due to defects. Mostly, the defect comes to the notice of the company after an accident has taken place. Accidents caused by an automobile design defect may result in both serious injuries and deaths. Loss of a loved one due to a defective auto part can never be fully compensated, but the car company can be held liable for damages.

Source: NBC Montana, "2 victims' families reject GM's millions," Jennifer Liberto, June 30, 2014

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