New Jersey residents may be interested in learning more about how different drivers have been jailed for fatal accidents that were eventually attributed to defective vehicles. The exonerating evidence in many of these cases has been the massive recalls plaguing the auto industry over the past few years. One woman spent three months in jail until a judge dismissed her guilty verdict based on the discovery of new evidence.
The vehicle recall by General Motors for defective ignition switches in 2014 is what released her from behind bars. The accident occurred in September 2010, when the driver lost control of the vehicle and her teenage passenger was killed in the crash. The Chevrolet Cobalts were recalled due to defective ignition that had been an issue for at least a decade. During 2014, there were more 64 million vehicles recalled in the United States, so there may be even more of these wrongful conviction cases coming up in the future.
In the woman’s case, the defect caused the power to steering and brakes to cut-off, and the airbag failed to deploy. On advice from her family, she pleaded guilty to reckless driving and involuntary manslaughter charges that carried a one- to two-year sentence. Even though she is now free, she still struggles with finding work.
Anyone injured in a car accident caused by a defective vehicle or negligent motorist may benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel may be prepared to investigate the crash and help identify any of the parties who may be culpable for the ensuing damages. Plaintiffs in these are often entitled to receive restitution that hels account for vehicle repairs, medical expenses and loss of income.