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Products Liability and the GM Recall

If you or someone you know drives a General Motors vehicle, chances are you're aware of the massive recall of many GM vehicles. Automobile manufacturers issue recalls from time to time, and most are limited to a specific make or model with a singular defect. In the case of the GM recall, the list keeps 

growing, and for GM, it appears to have reached crisis level.


The tip of the recall iceberg began with the Chevy Cobalt, GM's compact car that began production in 2004 for the 2005 model year. A faulty ignition switch in the Cobalt had the potential to cause the vehicle to lose power, which would deactivate the airbags. The initial investigation into the issue turned up 13 deaths attributed to this defect, with the number expected to grow. The recall list grew from the Chevy Cobalt to include 25 other models in the GM line, encompassing Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, Pontiac, and Saturn vehicles.

How a recall works

When a manufacturer discovers a flaw in their product, they must take steps to rectify this problem, correcting it for the customers that have purchased the product in question. In the case of an auto defect, the NHTSA has the authority to require a manufacturer to recall vehicles that have this defect. Even with a recall in place, consumers may be eligible for compensation for damages through products liability.

What is Products Liability?

Products liability includes any or all parties in the chain of manufacturer of a product for damage caused by that product. Claims can be based on negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty of fitness, but regardless where the claim is filed the claimant must prove that the product is defective.

Are there time limits?

You've heard the term "statute of limitations" and this term very simply means time limits. Time limits for filing a products liability claim vary from state to state, and are dependent upon the nature of your claim. In Indiana, personal injury claims have a two-year statute of limitations. Additionally, a claim can be subject to time limits based on when an injury occurred or was discovered.

What does this mean for the GM recall?

Though the defect in the GM vehicles is clearly defined, compensation for a products liability claim is still subject to the legal process. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the issues named in the recall, you will want to talk with an attorney experienced in products liability to determine what your next steps should be.

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