Elizabeth Berry loved her 2003 Monte Carlo and even called it her “third baby.” When General Motors (“GM”) issued a recall notice in 2010, warning Monte Carlo owners to have a certain repair made to the vehicle, Berry diligently complied. Then in 2014, she watched in horror as flames engulfed her car, burning her “baby” to a cinder.

It turns out that Berry is one of 1,345 car owners across the United States who experienced devastating GM car fires even after repairing their vehicle per the recall order. GM now admits their original recall did not work, and has issued a revised recall that affects 1.4 million cars.

Vehicle Fires Are Serious Business

The GM recall highlights just how deadly and prevalent car fires can be. Blazes can be triggered by defects in the vehicle’s fuel system that lead to a fuel fed fire that engulfs the car in flame in seconds.

These blazes can be triggered by ordinary malfunctioning, like in Elizabeth Berry’s case, or by a collision. Often such defects are triggered from a collision, which is especially deadly, since the impact of the accident often keeps people trapped inside the burning car. Many times it is later found that the victims would have survived the collision if it weren’t for the fire.

Preventing vehicle fires can cost manufacturers like GM less than a few dollars per vehicle, but not all manufacturers are willing to incur the costs of a recall until it is too late. These are some of the questions surrounding the GM recall:

  • Should GM have acted sooner to prevent car fires?
  • Should the government have stepped in to make sure GM acted properly?
  • Should the ineffective fix in 2010 been approved at all?

There is a long-standing “culture of resistance” in the auto industry of admitting when a mistake has been made. Despite aggressive reforms made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration we still see companies like GM trying to cut corners.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a vehicle fire then you should speak with an attorney immediately. The West Palm Beach defective products attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have obtained numerous verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients who have suffered serious injury or death as a result of a vehicle fire. Contact us today for a free consultation.  If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS  (1-800- 474-4487)  We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.