If you own a car made by General Motors, you may not be as safe as you thought. General Motors (GM) has issued a recall for a staggering 3.6 million vehicles because of a problem with the airbags and seatbelts. If your vehicle is affected, airbags may not deploy during an accident and seatbelts may not work properly. This is one of the most dangerous car defects we have seen to date.
If you or someone you love has been in an accident with a GM-made vehicle and the airbag did not work properly, or the seatbelts failed to restrain you, we would like to talk to you about your accident. You may have a claim for a full financial recovery including complete reimbursement for medical costs, a fully repaired car, and financial damages for your pain, suffering and losses. John Foy & Associates is a large respected law firm that works only for victims—never the big companies. Let us give you a free consultation and help you evaluate whether you could get a financial recovery. Call John Foy & Associates at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What’s wrong with GM’s airbags?
Many GM vehicles are safe and are not affected by the recall. However, General Motors recently revealed that a surprising number of their vehicle could be subject to a computer error in the software that controls the airbags. This glitch can cause the airbag to enter a “test mode,” and if an accident happens, the airbags will not deploy in this mode. That means that a crucial life-saving device would simply stand by and do nothing while you crash.
GM also indicated that the seatbelts may not work normally while in test mode.
It’s not clear how this glitch works, or how many of the affected vehicles may have already entered test mode. Presumably, the test mode exists so that GM engineers can intentionally crash vehicles multiple times without the airbag deploying on each crash. Outside of the lab, however, the glitch is potentially fatal.
Has anyone been killed by the GM airbag glitch?
Yes, it appears that the glitch was involved in at least one deadly crash already. GM has admitted that the error is linked to a car accident and that one person lost their life.
There could be many other accidents where the glitch was involved, without anyone involved knowing about it. This is why we are asking all GM car owners to reach out to us if you were involved in an accident where the air bag did not deploy. At this time, we don’t know how many other lives may have been lost, or how many severe injuries were caused by the airbag failing to deploy.
Which vehicles are affected by the GM airbag/seatbelt glitch?
GM has stated that nearly 4 million vehicles are affected. They include all of the following models, based on model year:
- Buick Lacrosse
- Chevrolet Spark EV
- Chevrolet Spark SS
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Chevrolet Trax
- Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Buick Encore
- Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD
- Chevrolet 3500 HD
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- Chevrolet Suburban
- GMC Sierra 2500 HD and 3500 HD
- GMC Yukon
- GMC Yukon XL
- Cadillac Escalade
- Cadillac Escalade ESV
Note that if you have one of the vehicles above and it was manufactured after August 24, 2016, it does not contain the glitch—GM had already started putting in updated computer modules by that time, to fix the error.
How long did GM know about this problem?
It’s not clear. According to GM, the company did not know about the problem until very recently. They say they discovered the glitch in May 2016. Their official story is that an employee brought the possibility of a defect to their attention after learning about a crash with a 2014 Silverado where the airbags failed to deploy. The company then investigated and, as soon as they discovered the glitch, took action for a recall.
We expect more information to unfold in the coming months.
Notably, GM has had other problems with its airbags in the past, such as the Takata airbag recall. This current defect is a new, separate problem.
What is GM doing about the defect?
GM has taken basic steps to fix the affected vehicles. The recall they issued will cover all 3.6 million vehicles they believe could be affected, and owners will be notified of the recall. Owners can then bring in their vehicle to have the computer module updated for free. Once it’s updated, the defect should be resolved.
This approach is good, but it only works to prevent future problems—it does not address any accidents that already happened, or any injuries caused by the defect. Only as accident victims come forward can we begin to hold GM accountable for the damage done and get the victims and their families a recovery.
Is GM liable for accidents caused by the airbag glitch?
Yes, absolutely. Legally, GM is responsible for making a safe product that performs as it’s advertised to perform. Any injuries caused by the airbag defect are considered product liability claims, and the people hurt (and their families) have a right to seek damages.
Under the law, GM is liable even if it didn’t know about the glitch. That’s because they have a duty to properly test their product before it goes to market. The fact that they allowed a glitch through—one that can disable lifesaving devices at the most crucial moment—counts as “negligence.” Negligence simply means they were careless and that their carelessness could cause harm to others.
This means GM could be held legally liable for:
- Medical bills, medication and physical rehabilitation
- Wages lost because the accident victim could not work
- Physical pain and suffering
- Permanent disabilities and other losses
Claims for this kind of accident can often reach over $1,000,000. This money cannot undo an accident or the grief it caused, but it can relieve medical debt and help a family stay afloat financially as they work through a difficult time.
What should I do if I think I have a claim?
If you own one of the affected vehicles and your airbags or seatbelt didn’t protect you during an accident, you should speak to a lawyer immediately. John Foy & Associates has over 20 years of experience handling product liability cases, and we have litigated large national cases like this before. Let us help you. We will sit down with you for a FREE consultation and discuss your case. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.