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Number of deaths related to GM recall could rise, lawyers say

Ohio drivers should know about an important auto recall and the effects that it may have on one manufacturer. A dozen deaths have already been blamed on the issue, and some think that many more will be uncovered.

Detroit-based automaker General Motors announced in February a recall that affects 1.6 million vehicles. The issue involves a faulty ignition switch that can lead to the vehicle shutting down and disabling airbags. GM estimates the cost of the fix will be under $100 million and government fines will be capped at $35 million. However, due to the death toll that may be rising as a result of the defective product issues, the real cost may be to the company's reputation.

So far, 12 deaths have been connected to the recall. Some lawyers estimate that for every death attributed to the issue there are up to ten more that may surface. GM has already settled more than one case related to this recall. Others are critical of the auto manufacturer's delay in addressing the issue. The company has apologized for its delayed reaction to the ignition switch problem and promised that the internal processes that failed to work properly in this instance have been fixed. Attorneys, in turn, are seeking to overturn GM's immunity from liability for pre-2009 issues that was given as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.

Releasing a defective product onto the market could lead to liability for the product manufacturer, particularly when serious injury or death is the result. An attorney experienced in product liability cases may be able to help examine the situation and bring a lawsuit against the responsible parties. This could allow the victim to recover compensation for personal injury or wrongful death damages.

Source: Businessweek, "Toll From GM Ignition Flaw Seen Rising as Victims Sought", Jeff Green, Linda Sandler and Patrick G. Lee, March 14, 2014

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