“One hundred is not even the tip of the iceberg,” says one legal commentator responding to the news that a special compensation fund established by General Motors just acknowledged the 100th death tied to the automaker’s mammoth and infamous ignition switch defect.
Many of our readers throughout Southern California and elsewhere across the state are of course familiar with the story surrounding that defect and the scores of wrongful death allegations it has engendered. In a recent article addressing the subject, the New York Times terms the ignition switch fiasco “one of the deadliest automotive safety issues in American history.”
And what makes it even worse, of course, are the myriad reports that GM insiders long knew that perilous safety problems were associated with the switches in a number of the company’s vehicle models. General Motors’ executives were grilled about that in congressional hearings last year and pilloried for the company’s failure to commence a timely large-scale recall to fix the problem.
Ultimately, that result ensued, but far too late, say critics. The company was fined heavily for its tardiness in responding to the safety crisis, and is still being investigated by the United States Department of Justice.
What renders the 100 milestone particularly galling for many people is its stark juxtaposition with an earlier figure, namely the exceedingly low death count of 13 that GM officials alleged just last year relating to switch defects.
And the newly announced figure is destined to potentially go much higher, given a number of claims that are still being actively reviewed.
We will keep readers duly informed of material developments that emerge in the matter.