California motorists are likely aware that in 2014, automakers recalled a record-breaking 64 million vehicles in the United States, and deadly defects plagued some of the vehicles. Ignition switch defects now acknowledged by General Motors Corp. resulted in convictions of drivers who were involved in deadly crashes, but many courts are now taking another look at this subject. Some defendants accepted plea bargain deals even when they insisted that they had lost control of their cars through no fault of their own.
One September 2010 crash that killed a 16-year-old happened because the ignition switch moved into the accessory position. This halted power to the steering and brakes and also disabled airbag function. The female driver agreed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. She only had to serve three months of her sentence, but her criminal record hindered her chances of getting a job.
She has since filed a claim with the accident fund set up for victims by GM. The court has vacated her guilty plea, but prosecutors have appealed the decision. Her lawyer plans to push for a decision of actual innocence. Legal experts predict that more convictions will be overturned now that automakers have admitted to serious product defects that have been in the marketplace for years.
Determining the cause of automobile accidents is sometimes difficult. Those who have been injured in one may want to consult with a personal injury attorney to see how best to proceed. The attorney can often make a determination as to who should be held financially responsible for an injured victim's losses through a review of the accident investigation report and other evidence.