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Wrongful death suits may persist despite settlements

Many personal injury cases in Long Beach, California, result in settlements. And while settling out of court can be the preferred conclusion to a wrongful death lawsuit, that settlement must reflect the honest and accurate dealings of both the plaintiff and defendant in the case. Confronted with new evidence regarding factors that contributed to their family members’ fatal accident cases, two families may attempt to sue a major automaker despite the fact that they have already received settlements.

Each wrongful death settlement is different since it is based on several components including individual state laws and the unique facts of the incident. As a result, it can be difficult to challenge a settlement in court once it is agreed upon. However, two separate families intend to challenge the basis of their settlements with General Motors (GM), arguing that they were agreed upon on fraudulent terms.

Even though they reached a settlement with GM over the death of their adopted daughter in 2006, one couple is arguing that they were never informed that a defective ignition switch in her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt contributed to the girl’s fatal accident. In a similar case, the family of another fatal accident victim is also arguing that GM never attributed the cause of the incident to the faulty ignition switch in the victim’s 2006 Cobalt.

The allegations of fraud made by the two families against GM come at a time when the automaker is facing several investigations conducted by federal agencies, along with a number of private lawsuits. The process of undoing the settlements may be complex and difficult, but representatives for the two families believe they can prove GM intentionally withheld information regarding the defective ignition switches.

Source: Reuters, “Exclusive: GM crash victims’ families who settled may revisit deals,” Jessica Dye, Julia Edwards, Paul Lienert, March 29, 2014

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