General Motors is one of America’s auto-making giants. This past week, the company gained a new distinction that they would probably like to forget. GM has been given the largest civil penalty that has ever been issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The record $35 million penalty must be paid by the automaker for actions surrounding the recall of 2.5 million vehicles. The problem surrounded flawed ignition switches. GM was aware of the defect and was able to fix the switches for 10 years. However, GM made a business decision to not fix the problem. As a result, at least 13 people were killed when the airbags did not deploy in Chevrolet Cobalts and other models.

GM’s vice president of Global Vehicle Safety has stated the company is working hard to both identify and respond to safety issues. In a press release, the company announced that the majority of vehicles that have been recalled will have replacement parts available by October of 2014. While this investigation continues, a new GM recall has been issued that covers almost 3 million vehicles made by the automaker. These recalls are due to defective tail lamps.

Consumers rely on companies like GM to provide safe products for consumers. When a car accident occurs, drivers and passengers alike expect that airbags will deploy as needed. When this doesn’t occur, the injuries and loss of life can be devastating. At times the injured may need to pursue legal options against a company that has manufactured or sold a defective product. A product liability lawsuit may be able to help the injured party receive the compensation needed to get life back on track.

Source:, “GM to Pay Feds Record $35 Million Fine Over Deadly Ignition Fails,” Mathew Deluca, May 16, 2014