Drivers’ criminal charges cleared after GM recall

Some Washington motorists may have been affected by the massive recall of GM vehicles that began in February 2014. Last year, the manufacturer was forced to recall 2.6 million cars because of a faulty ignition switch that the company had known about for 10 years. The defective vehicle part can cause cars to suddenly shut down or speed up, leaving drivers unable to control their speed, steering or brakes.

Following the auto recall, drivers who had been involved in car accidents over which they believed they had no part in suddenly had an explanation for what had happened. However, many of the drivers had already been falsely convicted for causing fatal crashes in their defective GM cars. With information about the faulty ignition switch now well known, many people who were previously convicted or had pleaded guilty to charges such as involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and reckless driving are having those convictions and pleas overturned.

Though GM does not comment on specific car accident cases, a spokesman for the company said that the it routinely provides information to investigators working on car accident cases. The company said that the criminal justice system is responsible for determining whether an individual should be criminally charged for an accident. GM has reportedly set aside a fund of $625 million to compensate car accident victims.

Because many of the defective GM cars were being driven for 10 or more years, there may be many people who are entitled to financial compensation from GM for accidents that occurred within that time period. An attorney may be able to help a car accident victim to determine if a faulty ignition switch contributed to the accident and then pursue compensation for the resulting auto injuries.