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Nathaniel Fick
Nathaniel Fick
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GM Agrees to Pay $575 Million to Settle Ignition Lawsuits

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General Motors may have agreed to pay $575 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit connected to their faulty ignition switches, but it could be just the tip of the iceberg and billions of dollars remain at stake, according to an Insurance Journal report.

The settlement doesn’t include another 31 deaths and 244 injuries that occurred before GM’s 2009 bankruptcy, and the automaker still faces hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits over the deadly flaw, as well as lawsuits filed by car owners demanding upwards of $10 billion in compensation for the lost value of their vehicles.

GM Engineers Knew of Problems, Company Ignored Issues

According to court filings, GM engineers told the DOJ that even before the switch went into production in 2002, they knew it was prone to slipping out of the run position. A few years later, the company allegedly considered fixing the problem at a cost of approximately $1 a vehicle, but declined to after deciding that the issue didn’t pose a legitimate safety concern.

Top executives at GM insist that they didn’t know that the ignition switch was a persistent problem, and none will be prosecuted under a $900 million deal the company made with the Department of Justice to end a U.S. criminal investigation into its handling of the matter.

Injury Cases Pending

Six personal injury lawsuits against GM are currently scheduled for trial, the first set to begin in January 2016 in New York. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits allege that GM endangered them by delaying the recall of the defective vehicles in which bumped keys could trigger a shut-off and disable steering, brakes, and airbags. The defect allegedly led to 124 deaths and multiple injuries.