When a Montana resident dies in an accident caused by a defective product, the victim’s family suffers a very personal kind of tragedy. However, sometimes when the family files suit against the producers of the defective product, it can lead to justice for not just themselves, but many other people in similar circumstances.

Car owners have no doubt been following developments in the ongoing story about General Motors’ massive recall of vehicles because of a defective ignition switch design. The car defect has been blamed in at least 13 deaths and 30 accidents. GM has recalled more than 2.6 million cars and trucks due to the defect and has been subject to numerous investigations and lawsuits since late last year.

More recently, information has come to light about some of the individuals who were killed in accidents caused by the faulty switch. According to one report, the public first learned about the defect after family filed suit against GM over the death of their 29-year-old daughter in a crash. The woman’s father said that several days before the tragic accident, his daughter’s car had unexpectedly stalled. When she died several days later in an accident, he suspected a problem with the car was to blame.

In their lawsuit, the family uncovered evidence that a defect in some GM ignition switches could cause vehicles to lose power unexpectedly, leading to accidents. The family settled its lawsuit with GM before the company issued its recall, but has petitioned to reopen the case after new evidence suggested that GM officials knew about the problem for years before the recall.

Under the legal theory of product liability, companies that put defective products onto the market can be held liable for damages to consumers who are injured by the defects. A Montana attorney with experience in these complex and sensitive lawsuits can help the injured or their families to understand how the law may apply to their circumstances.

Source: CNN Money, “How Brooke Melton’s death led to the GM recall,” Gregory Wallace, June 4, 2014