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Auto defects blamed for deaths, automaker criticized for recall

As more information emerges about the failure of General Motors to conduct an appropriate recall of thousands of defective vehicles, owners throughout Illinois and other states are expressing their satisfaction that they finally got the automaker's attention. Problems with many vehicles' ignition systems had caused serious problems for drivers throughout the region. Further, estimates show that hundreds of people may have died because of the severe auto defects.

One woman explains that her vehicle died a total of five times while she was driving it. Now, she still drives the defective product, a Saturn Ion, despite scores of repairs and a dealership that was largely dismissive of her concerns. That woman said that repair professionals treated her problem like an isolated incident, even though 1.6 million vehicles have since been recalled for ignition malfunctions.

Another young driver has been living with guilt over the fact that she was behind the wheel when two of her friends were killed as teenagers in 2006. Now, new information shows that the airbags in the vehicle were disabled because a defective auto part turned off the vehicle's electrical system. That is paltry consolation for the driver, however, who still struggles to reconcile the crash.

Shockingly, it appears that the automaker may have been aware of the problem as early as 2001, though officials at the firm decided not to take action until recently. Victims who have suffered injury and the loss of a loved one because of the defective products are pressuring the negligent manufacturer to take responsibility for the problem. However, under existing bankruptcy rules, the "new" GM company is not legally responsible for any claims that occurred prior to 2009.

Although the law is protecting the company's interests, consumer advocacy groups are pressuring the auto industry giant to create a trust fund that could be used to compensate victims who suffered from earlier accidents. Victims who have suffered through the consumer death of a loved one may benefit from the assistance of an Illinois attorney. These lawyers may provide additional information about legal rights and options.

Source: The Chicago Tribune, "Owners of recalled GM cars feel angry, vindicated" Eric Beech, Mar. 16, 2014

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