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Should manufacturers be liable when they sell products that are defective and cause injury and death? Recent reports in the press indicate that General Motors knew not only that its ignition switches in 1.62 million now-recalled cars were faulty, but it also knew the problem was made worse by the position of the switch where it is easily bumped. This situation is made worse by the fact that when the ignition switch is turned off the airbags won’t deploy and the steering is compromised. Numerous injuries, and some deaths, have been reported due to this defect. These injured people should have their day in court. However, it has been suggested that GM’s prior bankruptcy may cut off liability to those injured.
Courthouse News Service. A North Carolina man burned to death when his Whirlpool refrigerator overheated to more than 1,000 degrees, his family claims in court. Mr. Walker bought a Whirlpool refrigerator which had a defective heating element pin in its icemaker, according to the complaint. A short occurred causing the fridge to overheat to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The appliance began to smoke and activated the smoke alarm in Walker’s home. When Walker saw smoke coming out of the fridge he opened the freezer door and the rush of oxygen generated a fireball which burned him severely. He died later that day from his injuries. The family alleges that major appliances cause about 150,000 house fires each year, resulting in 3,500 injuries, 150 deaths and more than $540 million in property damage. It is important that product manufacturers be held accountable for such defective products.