GM Settles Criminal Ignition Switch Case for $900 Million
General Motors Co. (GM) has agreed to a deferred prosecution deal and a fine of $900 million to settle a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the company’s poor handling of an ignition switch defect linked to at least 124 deaths and 275 injuries.
Although no individuals were charged in the case, GM will be criminally charged with hiding the problem from regulators and defrauding consumers. The deal places GM on probation for the next three years. If the company cooperates with federal authorities and oversight during that time period, the case will be dropped and all charges will be dismissed.
The settlement also requires that GM hire an independent monitor for any future recalls to ensure the company is in compliance with federal safety reporting regulations.
In early 2014, GM executives admitted to knowing about the problem for nearly a decade before telling regulators and issuing a recall of millions of vehicles. The faulty ignition switch was shown to switch to the off position, which would turn off the vehicle and disable important safety features like power steering, power brakes and airbags.
In May 2014, GM agreed to pay the maximum possible fine of $35 million from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for violating federal law and failing to notify regulators.
Last year, GM set up an independent fund of $625 million to compensate victims of the faulty ignition switch. The fund identified 124 deaths and 275 injuries that were linked to the defect. Families of deceased victims are expected to get at least $1 million.
GM also just settled a class action lawsuit with more than 1,400 cases of injuries or deaths claimed to be tied to the ignition switch and other recalls.
The personal injury attorneys at Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice, S.C. believe in holding manufacturers responsible for negligently producing defective products. If you have been injured by a faulty product, we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.