GM may pay punitive damages in ignition cases

Washington residents may be interested to know that a judge in New York has said GM may be liable for punitive damages related to faulty ignition switches. In 2009 GM came out of bankruptcy as a new business entity. In essence, that would shield the company from lawsuits related to anything that happened during the existence of the former General Motors.

However, the judge said in his ruling that employees and knowledge may have been transferred from the old entity to the new one. He further said that the new GM could be liable for damages if it could be shown that the new company had knowledge of issues related to the old company. This is seen to be problematic for the new GM as it has admitted that it knew about faulty ignition switches.

According to one attorney, there are 250 cases against GM pending in state and federal courts. The attorney said that the ruling was a complete win for the plaintiffs as it allows jurors to hear evidence that may help them put a dollar amount on the lives lost in accidents related to the faulty switches. Furthermore, the ruling allows plaintiffs to pursue cases in which GM’s conduct may have led to a decline in the value of their vehicles.

If an individual has been hurt by defective products, he or she may be entitled to compensation for punitive damages on top of compensation for medical bills and lost wages. It may also be possible to ask for compensation for lost future earnings in a such a case. Family member of those killed by a defective product may also seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. An attorney may be able to help those interested in legal action file their cases properly.