DENVER (CBS4)– A family in Colorado has filed a lawsuit against General Motors after their daughter was in a terrifying crash they believe was connected to faulty ignition switches.
Lawsuits were filed after General Motors Co. in February began recalling 2.6 million cars, mainly Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions. GM has acknowledged knowing that the switches in its small cars had problems since at least 2001. Federal law requires automakers to report safety defects to the government within five days of discovering them.
The ignition switches, when jostled, can shut off the engine, cutting power steering and brakes and potentially causing drivers to lose control. The problem also can disable air bags.
“It’s so disturbing that GM didn’t think that my daughter was worth a 50-cent part,” said plaintiff Joseph Hamilton.
Stephanie Hamilton was driving her 2006 Chevy Cobalt along Interstate 70 in December 2013 when a wind gust forced her off the road. When she tried to regain control, Hamilton believes the key turned to the “off” position which compromised the power to her car.
“The car started to spin out of control and I continued to try to turn the steering wheel as much as I could to get out of it and I realized the steering wheel was not moving,” said Stephanie.
Her car slammed into an embankment. The airbags never deployed because the engine was turned off. Stephanie walked away from the crash.
“She just said she was scared and you don’t want to hear that from your daughter because I’m supposed to protect her,” said Joseph.
Hamilton and her father have filed a lawsuit against GM for the highly-publicized problem.
“She’ll be able to get past this but she never should have had to go through this,” said Joseph. “It shouldn’t have happened.”
GM’s compensation attorney announced earlier this year that claims could be filed at the beginning of this month. Those who take the compensation cannot sue GM. Those who have already sued can still file a claim.
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