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Car defects may have caused wrongful convictions

New information about car defects may affect Louisiana drivers who have been accused of causing a crash. General Motors recalled 2.6 million cars in February 2014 citing faulty ignition switches. Some of these defects may have resulted in wrongful convictions of drivers who lost control of their cars and were in fatal accidents. These were just a part of the 64 million vehicles recalled in 2014 in the United States.

Causing a deadly car accident can result in criminal charges such as manslaughter or vehicular homicide. Defective parts may have caused some drivers to spend time in jail or prison, even though the defect was later found to be a cause or contributing factor in the accident. Some of these drivers have been able to get their convictions reversed after showing that the defect was likely the real culprit in the accident.

GM has set up a settlement fund of $625 million for cases involving the faulty ignition switch. Some of the drivers who were wrongly convicted have been compensated. Generally, it is the responsibility of prosecutors to determine if a driver's conduct merits filing criminal charges and if there were any other factors that could have caused the accident.

People who have been injured in a car accident often believe that it was a negligent driver who should be held financially responsible. As these and other cases have shown, however, sometimes an accident is caused by a defect in the vehicle itself. An attorney representing an injured victim might be able to determine what party should ultimately bear responsibility through a review of the accident investigation report and other available evidence.

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