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Ignition switch settlement to pay out $2.39 million to Virginia

Virginia was one of dozens of states that investigated General Motors over allegations that the company was aware of and deliberately hid evidence of defective ignition switches. In one of the largest products liability settlements in recent years, General Motors has agreed to pay $120 million to 49 states and the District of Columbia.

According to several of the plaintiff states, GM employees first became aware of the defects in 2004, but it knowingly delayed recalling vehicles with the defective ignition switches. The defective switches failed to remain locked in the "run" position. When such a switch moved out of the "run" position, the vehicle would lose power, including power steering and power brakes. The malfunction would occasionally prevent airbags from deploying in an accident.

Even though its employees knew of the defect, GM continued to market cars containing the faulty switches, claiming that they were safe and reliable. This misrepresentation in the face of evidence to the contrary was a violation of numerous state and federal consumer protection laws. In 2014, GM finally issued recalls for seven vehicles in which the defective switches had been installed. According to Virginia's attorney general, the state will receive $2.39 million from the settlement. GM has agreed to make all necessary recall repairs.

GM's settlement with the states does not resolve the hundreds of personal injury claims related to the defective ignition switches. These claims are now pending in federal court. Anyone who believes they suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to a defective GM ignition switch may wish to consult an experienced auto accident attorney for advice on the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

Source: pilotonline.com, "Virginia to get $2.39 million in GM faulty ignition switch settlement," Oct. 19, 2017

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