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Enterprise and others warned GM years before 2014 auto recall

In February, General Motors initiated a recall of six vehicle models, including the Saturn Ion and Chevrolet Cobalt, but documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act suggest that the automaker had been warned about potential problems with the cars several years earlier. People in South Carolina may be interested to learn that many fatal car accidents might have been caused the alleged problems.

The acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration accused GM of hiding evidence from the government about faulty ignition switches. The bad switches are believed to cause steering and braking problems as well as interfere with air bag deployment. Documents, including police reports and transcripts with GM customer service agents, show that the rental-car company Enterprise was reportedly pressuring GM to do something about the defects for years.

Vanguard Car Rental USA had also recommended that GM look into a 2006 incident involving a rented Cobalt that drifted across lanes and rolled over after becoming caught in gravel from a median. The air bag did not deploy and despite having worn a seat belt, the driver did not survive the accident. The documents list similar incidents but do not state whether GM followed through on any investigations. Thirty auto accidents were mentioned in the GM documents, and 37 people died in those crashes.

Auto accidents can be traumatic and expensive events after medical bills, damage to one's car, and lost wages are considered. An attorney could meet with victims to discuss the particulars of the accident and then recommend a course of action. This might include submitting a claim to an insurance company or if a manufacturing error contributed to the plaintiff's injures, filing a lawsuit against a carmaker.

Source: St. Louis Today, "Rental-car companies pushed GM on fatal crashes before recall", Jeff Plungis and Tim Higgins , July 31, 2014

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