GM's airbag manufacturer knew defects could cause car crash

Continental Automotive Systems, the airbag manufacturer that made the airbags in General Motors automobiles, is a defendant in the litigation involving the GM ignition-switch defect. Continental is being blamed for contributing to GM safety issues because its airbags are said to disarm when the ignition switch is turned off. The GM ignition switch recall has affected 2.6 million motor vehicles and has been blamed for a total of 13 car crash deaths.

According to the lawsuit, if the ignition switch is merely bumped, it can move into the off position, which causes the engine to turn off. The power steering also ceases functioning, and other critical safety and operational systems will turn off, including the airbags. Lawsuits that have arisen out of the ignition switch defect claim that GM hid the problem from its customers in Massachusetts and the rest of the United States, who were unknowingly driving their cars at risk of extreme peril.

The airbag manufacturer has been brought into the suit based on allegations that the airbag defect contributed significantly to the risk of passengers and drivers being injured in an accident. The combination of the ignition switch defect and the resulting airbag disarmament was an extremely dangerous combination. In addition, a plaintiff lawyer says that Continental was aware of GM's ignition switch defect since 2005, yet the airbag manufacturer never notified consumers, nor did it change its systems to accommodate the defect.

Those who have been hurt in a car accident in Massachusetts caused by automotive defects do not have to sit idly by and accept their injuries. Victims who have been harmed by such defects, and the relatives of those who have been killed, can seek restitution in civil court. Especially in cases where the automotive manufacturer was aware of a dangerous defect but did not tell its customers, the manufacturer can be held accountable for any car crash and injuries that result from that defect.

Source: Reuters, "Auto airbag maker Continental named in GM recall suit", Jessica Dye, April 18, 2014

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