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GM Recall: Do You Need a Lawyer?

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on November 07, 2014 2:49 PM

Automaker General Motors continues to deal with a major recall of more than two million vehicles that may be equipped with a defective ignition switch.

Nine months after the recall was issued, almost half of the recalled vehicles have yet to be repaired, reports The New York Times. Most recently, GM began offering $25 gift cards to vehicle owners who bring their cars in for recall repairs. But in the meantime, the death toll from accidents caused by the defective switches continues to rise. So far, at least 30 deaths have been linked to the defect with hundreds more injuries being reported.

If you are the owner of a car that is affected by this recall, do you need a lawyer?

Recall Remedies

Those who own a car included in the recall have the right to a recall remedy from the manufacturer, which in this case is a repair of the defective part. Obtaining your recall remedy generally does not require anything more than finding out whether your car is part of the recall. Drivers will either be notified by the manufacturer or they can use the NHTSB's online recall search tool to search for a recall by your car's VIN number. If your vehicle is part of the recall, the next step is taking your car to an authorized dealer for repairs.

However, in some cases, when repairs are made incorrectly or a vehicle owner is denied the necessary repairs, the assistance of an attorney who specializes in automobile defects may be required.

Potential Legal Remedies Not Affected by Recall Remedies

Recall remedies are generally in addition to any legal remedies you may have for injuries or other damages caused by a defective automobile. In the GM recall, there are currently multiple class action lawsuits that have been brought by plaintiffs who were injured in crashes involving the defective vehicles or the family members of those who were killed. In addition, owners of vehicles affected by the recall have filed a separate class action lawsuit over the reduction in value of their vehicles -- considering that many now consider the recalled cars unsafe.

GM has also set up a compensation fund for victims and family members of those who were killed, paying compensation to victims or family members in exchange for releasing all claims against the company. If you were injured in a crash involving a car that is part of the recall, a products liability lawyer may be able to determine which of these options, if any, may be right for you.

Learn more about your rights regarding defective automobiles at FindLaw's Learn About the Law page on Vehicle Recalls and Defects.

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