Beebe and O'Neil

Rental companies tried to act before GM recalls

Connecticut owners of GM vehicles may have already heard of the massive recall issued by the automaker in February. However, recent reports indicate that rental car companies may have reported possible vehicle defects as early as 2005, which may further implicate that GM knew about safety issues with the Cobalt, Ion and four other model cars for almost a decade.

According to reports from an investigator working for Vanguard Car Rental USA, General Motors was contacted about a rollover car accident in California in 2006, eight years before the mass recall. The car involved was a new Chevrolet Cobalt, which lost control in light traffic on a clear day. The car rolled over into a median, resulting in the driver's death when the airbag failed to deploy.

A claims adjuster with Vanguard, which owns the Alamo agency the car was rented from, contacted GM in light of concerns about a possible defect. Enterprise as well encountered problems with airbags that failed to deploy during auto accidents, and Hertz and Avis Budget also reportedly faced problems with crashes. The former director of Dollar Thrifty stated that rental car companies are similar to a test fleet since they are the first to use the cars en masse. Moreover, the various complaints of possible defects from several vehicle rental companies should have alerted GM about potential safety issues.

Those who were injured in a car accident due to a vehicle defect that the manufacturer did not properly address in time may be eligible for financial compensation. Injured victims could be recompensed for the expenses associated with treatment of serious injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Source: St. Louis Today, "Rental-car companies pushed GM on fatal crashes before recall", Jeff Plungis and Tim Higgins, July 31, 2014

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