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GM CEO: “People Died in Our Cars”

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Recently, it was announced that General Motors would pay $900 million to settle criminal charges over its defective ignition switches, which have been linked to at least 124 deaths in the U.S.

CNN had an alarming report about the settlement and its fallout recently, as GM has admitted that its employees were aware of dangers relating to the switches, but failed to inform the public.

“People were hurt and people died in our cars,” GM CEO Mary Barra told employees at an event recently, according to CNN. “That’s why we’re here today.”

Many people are upset that executives with the company were not criminally charged. One woman, whose 16-year-old daughter died in the crash, said she was disgusted with the settlement.

“While nothing can bring my daughter back, we need a system where auto executives are accountable to the public and not just corporate profits,” the woman said, according to CNN.

Prosecutors said that federal laws make it difficult to impose large penalties or charges against employees who know about dangers of products and do nothing to inform the public. One U.S. attorney told CNN “[Prosecutors] apply the laws as we find them, not the laws as we wish there might be.”

According to CNN, under the settlement, the Justice Department agreed to defer the criminal case, placing GM on probation for the next three years. If GM cooperates with authorities during this time, criminal charges against the company will be dropped entirely.

The company has agreed to hire an independent monitory to make sure that it complies with all federal safety reporting regulations. Because of deaths and injuries associated with the defective vehicles, GM is expected to pay more than $600 million to victims and their families.


It is unfortunate that family members of victims are upset with the terms of this settlement. No amount of money will bring their loved ones back and GM should be held responsible, outside of fines or light sanctions.

If a defective product has harmed your loved one, there are ways you can hold a manufacturer liable including civil lawsuits. Talk to our Nashville injury attorney about your legal rights.

You can reach him by clicking on the live chat option on this page or by filling out the contact request form.

“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalms 118:24


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