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Motor vehicle manufacturers facing a lot of unwanted scrutiny

Recall after recall, congressional probes, widespread and unremittingly adverse media stories, litigation in state and federal courts -- all things considered, 2014 wasn't a particularly good year for automakers.

It certainly doesn't bode well for motor vehicle companies when a business and law professor in Michigan -- a state having a close and historic nexus with auto manufacturing activities -- says that, "People now come into the jury room really suspicious" of automakers in personal injury and product liability cases.

The sources underlying the clearly expressed antipathy of consumers toward automakers are not exactly camouflaged.

Rather, they are manifestly apparent. For starters, successive safety recalls were issued throughout the entire year, with problematic issues ranging from ignition switch problems that turned off car engines and rendered air bags inoperable to malfunctioning bags that exploded and shot shrapnel into drivers' and passengers' faces.

General Motors has been under intense pressure regarding the former issue, with one attorney noting the public's awareness "of the poor choices GM made in the name of economy."

Hyundai Motor Co. is another company that will likely mark 2014 as a year filled with misadventure. The company suffered a verdict favoring plaintiffs that was the largest ever announced against it. The carmaker ultimately settled a wrongful death case involving two fatalities following a jury award of $248 million. Most of that amount was assessed for punitive damages.

The courtroom is of course a venue where plaintiffs seek justice for personal injuries suffered as a consequence of a defendant company's wrongdoing, whether that is based in bad-faith actions or negligent conduct. Jury awards address personal loss and can also send a deterrent message to corporate actors who fail to act reasonably in promoting public safety.

A proven personal injury attorney with experience representing persons injured by defective products can answer questions and provide diligent representation in litigation targeting corporate wrongdoing.

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