LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin native who suffered horrific injuries in a December 2013 car crash that occurred near Livingston is suing General Motors, claiming that a faulty ignition switch caused her 2007 Pontiac Solstice to lose control.
Tiffany Nicole Adams, 30, of Houston, suffered a broken neck, broken ribs, and other serious injuries that required the amputation of both of her legs. She is now attempting to recover from her injuries while she is living with her parents.
"There is no doubt that General Motors knew about these problems long before Tiffany's crash," W. Mark Lanier, one of Adams' attorneys, said in a press release. "This needless accident would not have occurred if GM simply had warned customers that their cars included an ignition switch time bomb."
Sadly three months after Adams accident she received an important safety recall of her 2007 Pontiac Solstice from General Motors. The notice was sent one month after GM filed a part 573 defect notice with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The defect notice which was filed on February 7, 2014, stated that the "ignition switch torque performance may not meet general motor's specifications," explaining that if "the key ring is carrying weight or the vehicle goes off road or experiences some other jarring event, the ignition switch may inadvertently be moved out of the 'run' position" and may result in deactivating the airbags.
According to documentation issued by Adams lawyer GM first became aware of the defect back in 2005 but failed to indicate the full extent of the defect in a bulletin released by them.
The lawsuit was filed in the Harris County District Court. In addition to GM, the lawsuit also listed Delphi Automotive, the England-based manufacturer of the ignition switch, and Haik Auto Direct, the Houston-based company which sold Adams the car, as defendants in the case.
I am heartbroken for all the families who have suffered and lost loved ones because GM failed to do the right thing," Adams said. "I pray that GM accepts responsibility for the harm it has caused to so many people and that justice is served."
According to the press release, Adams was driving to Lufkin to celebrate Christmas with her family when the accident occurred around noon on Dec. 23, 2013. She had been traveling north on U.S. Highway 59 when the ignition switch failed in her Solstice, causing the car to lose control and slam into a tree. Her driver's side door struck the tree, trapping her in her car.
"Despite the collision, the lawsuit says, the car's airbags did not deploy because of the ignition switch failure," the press release stated.
A story that appeared on the Polk County Today Web site stated that emergency personnel had to use a hydraulic rescue tool to free Adams from her car. The process took about an hour. The Polk County Today story said after paramedics and EMTs stabilized Adams' injuries at the scene, she was immediately airlifted by helicopter to Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston.
"Ms. Adams' Pontiac Solstice is one of more than 2.6 million GM models that since have been recalled based on an ignition switch failure that can turn off a vehicle's engine and cause vital components to malfunction, including the power steering system, anti-lock brakes, and airbags," the press release stated.
In addition to Lanier, who is with the Lanier Law Firm in Houston, Adams is also represented by Bradley L. Leger from the Houston law firm Leger Adkins and Elizabeth J. Cabraser and Todd A. Walburg of the San Francisco law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein.