May 21, 2014
The family of an Albemarle County man killed in a 2009 car crash is suing automaker General Motors, claiming the company withheld information about a defect with their son's car.
In 2009, 20-year-old Ben Hair was driving his 2007 Pontiac G5 just a few miles from his home when he hit a tree.
Not long after the crash, his parents received a recall note in the mail, saying there was an ignition switch defect with Hair's car. When the switch fails, the car powers down and cuts off the power steering, power brakes and airbags.
Now, his family says Hair's car had an "event data recorder," which is similar to a black box in a plane. The recorder gives information about the car's final speed and ignition position.
That information is what the Hairs have gone without since their son's death, leaving many questions unanswered.
In the lawsuit, the Hairs are accusing GM of concealing that information from them. They're seeking punitive damages against GM for the way the company treated them, but they have not released how much.
The Hairs say GM continues to send them recall notices about their son's car nearly five years after the crash, despite knowing about his death.
GM has said 13 people nationwide have died because of the defects, but the Hairs' lawyer says he expects that number to be much higher.