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NHTSA Urging Chevrolet Bolt EV Owners to Take Fire Safety Precautions

NHTSA Urging Chevrolet Bolt EV Owners to Take Fire Safety PrecautionsThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) is following up on a November 2020 recall of Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles with a warning to current owners of some models manufactured between 2017 and 2019. Owners are being told to park these vehicles outside and away from their homes because of a potential fire risk.

According to NHTSA, owners of these vehicles should park their cars away from homes and any other structures “immediately after charging.” In addition, the vehicles should not be charged overnight. The NHTSA warning applies to the vehicles that were previously covered by the November 2020 recall, dated November 13, 2020. In that recall notice, NHTSA claimed “[a] certain number of these vehicles were built with high voltage batteries produced at LG Chem’s Ochang, Korea facility that may pose a risk of fire when charged to full, or very close to full, capacity.”

General Motors (“GM”) acquired Chevrolet in 2018.  GM has developed software that should limit the charging capacity to 90% to mitigate the risk of the affected Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles catching fire.

The vehicle’s battery packs are located underneath the bottom cushion of the backseat. The risk is that the cell packs in these Chevrolets may “smoke and ignite internally.” The fire could then spread to the rest of the vehicle, which could cause a house to go up in flames or a garage to catch fire if the car is parked in or near the garage.

The recall notice indicated that about 50,932 vehicles might be affected and that approximately 1% of those vehicles have the defective batteries. The recall was issued due to five incidents that occurred in 2021. According to data from GM on four of these incidents, “the vehicle’s high-voltage battery pack appears to have been at a high state of charge, according to the available data, just before the fire occurred.”

NHTSA warns that the affected vehicles “should be parked outside regardless of whether the interim or final recall remedies have been completed.”

Vehicle owners can check out NHTSA’s recall site and enter their vehicle’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) to see if their car is affected by the recall. Owners of vehicles affected by the recall should contact their nearest Chevrolet dealership immediately to schedule a free repair. Owners can also get more information from the Chevrolet website:

Car owners can download NHTSA’s new SaferCar app for Apple or Android and enter the vehicle or vehicle part information to determine if a recall has been issued.

Product liability lawsuits for defective car parts

Car manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have a duty to design and sell safe products. The burden is on the businesses to demonstrate their products are safe. These companies can be held liable if you are hurt or a member of your family dies and the following occurs:

Cars or car parts are considered defective if:

  • The design is faulty
  • The product was not manufactured in a quality manner
  • The instructions on how to use the product are defective

There is no need for victims to prove negligence – though many product liability claims also include claims for negligence and breach of warranty.

Some of our product liability results

At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our experienced product liability lawyers work with skilled engineers, auto part experts, and other professionals to determine the defect and to prove that the defect caused the crash. We have obtained numerous jury verdicts and settlements in product liability cases, including:

  • $47.7 million. In this case, a six-year-old girl was riding in her mother’s 2000 Lincoln LS Sedan. The rear seats had special latches so they could fold down to allow for more cargo space and access to the trunk. When the car was involved in a crash, the rear seat collapsed, causing the child to suffer permanent spinal injuries. The injuries caused the child to be paralyzed from the chest down. She will need assisted care for the rest of her life. The plaintiffs also sought punitive damages against Ford Company because Ford knew about problems with the latches. Ford redesigned the vehicle in 2001 but did not issue a recall. The jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages for $47.7 million.
  • $40 million. A woman suffered severe injuries when her Ford malfunctioned. She had put her car in park and exited the car. While standing near the car, the vehicle moved in reverse. As she tried to return the car to the park position, she was knocked down by the driver side door. She fractured her spine and is now a paraplegic. Harris Lowry Manton LLP was able to show that Ford knew for decades that its transmission suffered from a “false park” defect. Subsequent to the verdict, NTHSA launched an investigation into the transmission defects.

Negotiated settlements in product liability cases include:

  • $9,800,000. Spinal cord injury
  • $5,000,000. Wrongful death
  • $4,061,833. Catastrophic injury
  • $3,943,833. Wrongful death
  • $3,862,333. Catastrophic injury
  • $3,776,833. Catastrophic injury
  • $3,640,000. Catastrophic injury
  • $3,605,833. Catastrophic injury
  • $3,203,525. Catastrophic injury

Harris Lowry Manton LLP is the only Georgia firm to obtain number-one verdicts in multiple different categories – including automotive, products liability, business torts, premises liability, nursing home misconduct, and medical malpractice – in the last 15 years.

We work with product safety experts, engineers, and other safety professionals to demonstrate that vehicles and car parts are defective. We demand compensation for your pain and suffering and economic losses. To assert your rights after any type of crash or electric vehicle fire, call our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or use our contact page to schedule an appointment.




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