In the tragic event that a family loses a loved one in a fatal accident in New York, they are often in desperate need of answers and closure. Understanding how and why the incident occurred is an important step in coming to terms with the loss and moving forward. Two separate families came to personal injury settlement agreements with a major American automaker only to now suspect that the cause of the car accidents that took the lives of their loved ones was known by the defendant for years. Now they’re both considering undoing those settlements.
Each and every wrongful death settlement is unique because it depends on several factors, such as particular state laws and the details of the incident. And given that so many wrongful death cases are settled outside of court, it can be increasingly difficult to legally nullify such agreements once they are confirmed. Even so, two families are claiming that their settlements with General Motors (GM) over the deaths of their loved ones should be void because GM achieved them on fraudulent grounds.
Despite the fact that one couple agreed to a settlement with GM in 2006, they are hoping to gain the right to sue the automaker because they believe the defendant knowingly withheld information regarding the real cause of the car accident that took the life of their adopted daughter in 2005. Like another family that lost someone in a car crash in 2009, the couple claims that GM knew the accidents were caused by faulty ignition switches but failed to disclose the information during the settlement process.
While the process of undoing the settlements may be difficult, the two families are accusing GM of fraud at a time when the automaker is facing several investigations and multiple other private lawsuits.
Source: Reuters, “Exclusive: GM crash victims’ families who settled may revisit deals,” Jessica Dye, Julia Edwards, Paul Lienert, March 29, 2014