Our Atlanta defective product lawyers have been reading about the case of Brooke Melton, a Georgian who was killed in a car accident on her 29th birthday four years ago this month, in March 2010. Ms. Melton was driving her Chevrolet Cobalt on a rainy night when the car lost power, crossing the center of the road and smashing into another car at 58 miles per hour.
Her father, Ken Melton, said he knew that there was something wrong with his daughter’s car and blames the ignition switch for the accident. GM issued a recall for a defective ignition switch, but it was much too late for Brooke. GM admits that the switch was weak, could turn by itself, and in certain circumstances will switch off the power to the car’s steering and brakes. The Melton’s case against GM was settled a few months ago, although the details haven’t been released. A civil lawsuit against the Chevrolet dealer in Georgia is still ongoing though. Brooke had her car serviced just the day before her fatal accident. She had noticed a similar problem and had managed to pull her car over to the side of the road. She took the car to get it serviced for the power loss problem, but tragically nothing was fixed and it occurred again in her fatal accident just days later.
Also, evidence against the car manufacturer shows that the company knew about the problem with the ignition switch as early as 2004, six years before Brooke’s death. The company just issued a recall last month in February, as part of a two stage 1.6 million car recall. The recall includes 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2007 Pontiac G5s, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs, 2003-2007 Pontiac Solstices, and 2007 Saturn Sky. Last week, GM went so far as to issue an apology for 13 deaths in 31 crashes it acknowledges were due to ignition switch failures. Brooke’s crash is not included because these 31 crashes were with frontal crashes with airbag failures and Brooke’s was a side impact crash, although her front airbags also did not deploy.