DENVER — Kristin Hopkins, the Highlands Ranch woman who spent six days trapped in her overturned car after a crash near on Red Hill Pass near Fairplay, filed a federal lawsuit against General Motors on Tuesday.
The lawsuit accuses GM of negligence resulting in personal injury and product liability. It alleges GM knew about the failure of safety systems before Hopkins lost traction in her Chevrolet Malibu and crashed on Highway 285 in April 2014.
“Basically, why did this happen? I mean, it’s — I think it was something that could have been taken care of,” Hopkins told “Good Morning America” on Wednesday when asked what was her message now to GM.
Hopkins, who was reported missing on April 29, 2014, suffered severe injuries in the wreck in which her car came to rest in trees about 140 feet down an embankment and into a ravine off Highway 285.
Her feet were broken and had to be amputated, and she suffered five broken ribs, a fractured cheekbone and a lacerated liver.
She was able to move about in the car, but she had no food or water. She used a marker to write on a red-and-white umbrella that she stuck out a door she managed to get open.
On it, she wrote messages such as, “doors are locked can’t get out,” “need doctor hurt and bleeding” and “6 days no food or water.”
Hopkins wasn’t found until May 4, when a man on his way home from work thought he saw something in the trees and told his wife to pull over the car.
The lawsuit alleges Hopkins received a notice from GM after she returned from the hospital saying her vehicle needed repairs since the “safety systems may not work if she finds herself in a crash avoidance situation.”
The notice said “traction control, electronic stability control, and panic braking assist features, if equipped, may be disabled,” the lawsuit alleges. “These conditions may increase the risk of a crash.”
A second notice said the vehicle might “suddenly lose [electric power steering assist]” and “revert to manual steering mode.
“We had the best engineer in the country look into this and she came to these conclusions and we believe what she says,” Hopkins told “Good Morning America.” “We think that had these failures not occurred, then this crash wouldn’t have happened.”
Hopkins told “Good Morning America” she still suffers from traumatic brain injury and is learning to walk again with prosthetic legs.
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