In February 2014, GM recalled 2.6 million cars that had faulty ignition switches. For one 25-year-old woman, it was enough for a judge to vacate her guilty plea on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. Although the plea was vacated, the women still spent three months in county jail and says that she has struggled to find a job after being released.
Her guilty plea stemmed from a September 2010 accident that left a 16-year-old male friend dead. She says that prior to the crash, the car's ignition went into accessory mode, which cut power to the steering and the brakes. She also claims that she wasn't traveling at an unsafe speed and was only going down the street to drop her friend off from school. The woman eventually agreed to an undisclosed settlement with GM that came from its victim compensation fund.
Although the woman's plea was overturned, the question of guilt in the case has still not been answered. The prosecutor in the case is appealing the ruling while the woman's attorney is pressing for a finding of actual innocence in the case. GM wouldn't say whether or not the defect played a role in the accident in a letter that was sent to the woman's attorney.
Those who are injured in a car accident often wonder who to pursue for the damages that have been sustained. In these and other cases involving vehicle recalls due to defective parts, it sometimes is the case that the vehicle manufacturer itself should bear the responsibility. An attorney for an injured victim can review the accident investigation reports, recall notices and other evidence in order to determine who to name as a defendant in a resulting lawsuit.