You probably heard something on the news about the consumer alert from Chevy and GMC. In this post, we want to examine the finer details of the issues, and what the course of action should be for the victims.
At the end of the day, reliability is THE most important factor in a vehicle.
When you are shopping for a new car, one of the questions you will likely ask the seller about the vehicle’s safety features, such as airbags or crash safety ratings.
You should then confirm these questions by taking the vehicle to a mechanic to ensure that all of the parts are working correctly so you know it will safely get you from point A to point B.
When a vehicle malfunctions, it can be an extremely scary and dangerous situation – especially if you are on the highway or on a deserted road.
Unfortunately, this experience has happened to drivers – recently with a few Chevy and GMC vehicles. Certain models have had power steering problems and failure, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
If you have purchased a GMC or Chevy and have experienced this type of problem, there are some things that you need to know about your legal rights.
1. Which Consumers Does It Affect?
In 2018, General Motors issued a recall for over one million vehicles due to issues with power steering – after this problem led to thirty crashes and multiple injuries. The models that have been recalled include:
- 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- 2015 GMC Sierra 1500
- 2015 Cadillac Escalade
- 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe
- 2015 Chevrolet Suburban
- 2015 GMC Yukon
There is also a class-action lawsuit against General Motors for the following vehicles:
- 2015-2018 Chevrolet Traverse
- 2015-2018 Chevrolet Colorado
- 2015-2018 GMC Canyon
- 2015-2018 GMC Acadia
Drivers have reported power steering failure or problems after 30,000 miles. Generally, a vehicle’s power steering should not run into any major issues for the first 100,000 miles – if it is properly maintained.
2. Does This Qualify Under Lemon Law?
Just because a vehicle that you purchased has mechanical issues does not necessarily qualify it like a lemon, but it might. There are specific rules and regulations set into place that are intended to protect both drivers and car manufacturers from needless lawsuits.
These laws do vary state to state, but in California, a vehicle can qualify by meeting any of the following stipulations in order to qualify as a lemon:
- The vehicle has defects or issues that could impact the safety, functionality, or value of the car; or
- The vehicle has been taken to an authorized repair facility that is unable to repair the problem within a reasonable number of attempts (for California, this is set at a minimum of two attempts); or
- The vehicle has been unusable due to the need for repairs for at least thirty days due to time in the repair facility; or
- The defects and repair attempts first occurred before the manufacturer’s warranty expired
Therefore, if you have purchased or leased one of the aforementioned vehicles and experienced major mechanical issues, attempted to have the vehicle repaired and were unable to use the vehicle for thirty days or more, or the defect first occurred before the warranty expired, then you could have a lemon.
In this scenario, it would likely apply to the newer Chevy and GMC models (of which may still be under warranty) that were affected.
This means that you could file a claim against General Motors and receive compensation for your vehicle (including the original sales price and repair costs) or potentially receive a replacement. In order to maximize your recovery, it is best to hire a Lemon Law attorney to help you with the legal proceedings and file a claim.
3. What About the Class Action Suit?
As mentioned before, there is a class action lawsuit being taken against General Motors in regard to these faulty vehicles. A class-action suit is a legal action taken by a group of individuals who have suffered similar hardship against a single defendant, often a business corporation.
In a class-action lawsuit, you do not have to be physically present in the courtroom, nor do you have to testify. However, in this scenario, you would need to file paperwork proving that you have a claim to this case, such as receipts of your purchase and repair attempts.
One of the greatest downsides to participating in a class-action suit is that there is often very little financial recovery – since the money is used to cover the attorney fees and the remainder is split between all of the class members. For example, in a previous case against Nissan, the vehicle owners merely received a voucher for up to $1,000 in repairs. Others have resulted in measly monetary rewards.
Instead, it may be far better to reach out to a lemon law attorney to file a claim (if your vehicle applies), as opposed to a nominal class action settlement. This often results in a complete refund of your purchase price, as attorneys will fight for your rights to obtain a full replacement or refund.
For example, one owner of a 2016 GMC Sierra filed a Lemon Law claim through an attorney after the vehicle started to have major mechanical issues that could not be fully repaired. The owner had spent $75,000 on his vehicle, along with additional repair fees.
His attorney helped him to reach a settlement with General Motors, of which provided the driver with a full refund of the vehicle along with additional punitive damages.
Having a defective vehicle is much more than just a hassle – it could be putting your life in danger. If you have purchased a vehicle from GMC or Chevrolet and believe that it qualifies under the California Lemon Law, you could receive compensation for your faulty vehicle.
Reach out to one of our experienced attorneys today to file a claim and get back on the road quickly and safely.