Not long ago, General Motors announced its plan to award monetary payments to individuals who were injured or who lost loved ones in crashes caused by defective ignition switches installed into various vehicle models by the auto giant. Some of the affected victims may welcome these payments, especially if they are struggling with significant medical debt tied to their injuries. However, relatively modest payments cannot erase the fact that all of the car accidents caused by the defect could have been prevented if GM had acted on its knowledge concerning the problem.
General Motors almost unquestionably hopes that once it pays victims for the harm it caused them that the recent defect scandal will fade into the past. However, the public generally has a longer memory than GM would prefer. In addition, those who have been affected by GM’s staggering negligence and possible fraud will never forget how the auto manufacturer treated consumers who voluntarily chose to purchase its products.
The recent GM payouts highlight an important issue which affects any number of plaintiffs involved in personal injury lawsuits. On the one hand, it is completely justified and appropriate to seek monetary damages against negligent entities which have harmed you or your loved ones. These damages not only represent a physical manifestation of an entity’s liability and provide a deterrent against others who would behave in the same way, they also help to ease the financial burdens caused by harm done.
However, money will never serve as a substitute for the suffering caused by the loss of a loved one, the physical damage done by serious injury and even the loss of sentimental property. If you have questions about how to process this challenging duality, please do not hesitate to ask an experienced personal injury attorney for his or her thoughts on the matter. It is an unquestionably difficult situation to process, but experienced attorneys may be able to help you move forward in this way.
Source: New York Times, “General Motors to Set Payouts in Crashes Caused by Flawed Switches,” Hilary Stout, June 29, 2014