The U.S. government is investigating General Motors (GM) big pickup trucks and SUVs due to faulty braking systems. Roughly 2.7 million vehicles sold in the U.S. may be affected by the issue, so if you own a GM truck or SUV, here is what you need to know.
As parents, we like to think sending our children to school on the bus is safe. In reality, school bus accidents occur every year, often resulting in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. In these moments it is difficult to think about involving a lawyer, however the sooner you engage a qualified lawyer, the sooner your child and family’s legal interests are protected and you can focus solely on your child and families well-being.
The number of pedestrian traffic fatalities will increase 10% in 2015 when compared with 2014, according to a recent estimate in a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association publishing the preliminary data from the first half of 2015. Preliminary data also found a spike in traffic deaths during this time, according to a previous report from another source.
The Department of Justice is expected to fine General Motors more than $1.2 billion in connection with its delayed recall of automobiles with faulty ignition switches. The DOJ is still considering whether to require a guilty plea to criminal charges or offer a deferred prosecution agreement. This includes a possible charge of criminal wire fraud for misleading statements and the concealment of the defect.
The amount of the fine may still change. Wall Street analysts have speculated that the fine may exceed $2 billion. GM has already paid a fine of $35 million, the maximum the auto regulator is currently allowed to penalize a company for these types of cases, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Federal prosecutors are hoping to resolve the matter by early fall.
The total number of deaths from defective ignition switches in GM vehicles is now 111, since two more claims were approved by the compensation fund last week. GM has also approved claims for 12 serious injuries and 179 other injuries. 191 claims are still being reviewed. The total cost of compensating victims is estimated at around $550 million. The deadline for submission was January 31st.
In March 2014, Toyota Motors was fined $1.2 billion by the Justice Department for misleading consumers about the unintended acceleration of its vehicles through deceptive public statements. This was the largest criminal fine ever levied against an automaker by the United States. Toyota initially blamed acceleration issues on floor mats becoming stuck under gas pedals as well as driver error. Toyota also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Government.
Two internal reports from the Transportation Department have also identified mistakes made by the NHTSA. The agency reportedly missed clues about the defect and is revising its procedures in response to the reports. President Obama is also seeking to provide the NHTSA additional funding and lift the maximum cap on penalties issued by the agency.
The Senate has already passed the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act sponsored by Senators Thune and Nelson to provide monetary incentives to auto whistleblowers employed by car manufacturers, dealers and part suppliers about delayed recalls and other violations of federal law. The House has yet to act on the proposals for auto safety legislation made in light of the recalls by Toyota, GM, and Takata.
To learn more about the proposed bill, contact one of our whistleblower attorneys via our contact form or by calling 1-800-590-4116.
Photo Credit: MDGovpics
Spring 2016 Update:
The Thune-Nelson proposal was signed into law by President Obama as part of the FAST Act in December 2015. For additional information, please visit our page dedicated to auto whistleblowers.
We’ve been closely following the coverage of the Amtrak derailment since the news broke that there was a railroad accident in Philadelphia. Our hearts go out to the crew, passengers and their families right now. We’ve represented hundreds of railroad workers over the course of our legal careers and have spoken to a number of our contacts in this area about what is happening.
Metro-North Train derailed early this morning, December 1, 2013, at 7:20 a.m. in the Bronx, New York. Metro-North authorities say four cars on a seven-car train leaving from Poughkeepsie at 5:54 a.m. derailed just feet from the Hudson and Harlem Rivers and just short of the Spuyten Duyvil station.
News agencies initially stated some of those derailed cars were in the water, but that has been confirmed that was not true. More than 130 firefighters raced to the derailment scene to help extricate passengers and crew from the train.
Of the four people killed in this train derailment accident three where ejected from the train. All passengers have been accounted for, said Gov. Cuomo.
The Hudson line is suspended indefinitely and the Amtrak Empire line is suspended between Albany and New York City until further investigation.
A frequent Sunday rider told a news station that he takes this train every Sunday and that it was traveling faster than usual as it approached the curve where it derailed and that was also confirmed to be one factor by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority President Tom Prendergast during a briefing near the derailment. A similar incident took place near the area in a July derailment but on a different track.
Friends and families trying to obtain information about people that may have been on this train are advised to contact New York City’s 311 information system, Gov. Cuomo said.
If you or someone you know have been injured in this or any other train accident please contact experienced Railroad Accident Attorney James J. McEldrew, III. Mr. McEldrew is available to answer all your questions. Jim was on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys from 1994 until 2001, and was President of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys from 2001 to 2002. Call Jim today at 215-694-1267 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.