Faulty Ignition Switch in GM Vehicles Causes 19 Deaths
General Motors agrees to set up a victim’s compensation fund to pay for 19 deaths caused by faulty ignition switches in their vehicles. The estimate of deaths due to ignition switch problems originally stood at 13, but has recently risen to 19 deaths and is likely to go higher. Compensation expert for General Motors, Kenneth Feinberg, has determined that 19 wrongful death claims are eligible for compensation. Due to confidentiality agreements, Feinberg is not at liberty to identify any of the victims eligible for payment, or to state whether the 19 wrongful death claims include the 13 deaths originally documented by General Motors.
The ignition switch defect responsible for the 19 deaths was installed in 2.6 million GM cars and causes the ignition to slip out of the “run” position which stalls the vehicle and disables the car’s airbags. Although GM admitted to knowing about the ignition switch problem for over a decade, it did not begin recalling the vehicles until earlier this year. Feinberg has received 125 death claims due to faulty ignition switches in older Chevrolet models and over 320 claims for compensation due to injuries. Of the 320 injury claims, 58 fell into the most serious category seeking compensation for injuries resulting in amputation, permanent brain damage, and loss of limb. The remaining 262 claims fall into less serious injuries that resulted in hospital stays or outpatient medical treatment within 2 days of the car accident. Feinberg has not released the dollar amount that GM plans to offer each eligible claim, but GM estimates that it will cost $400 million to compensate all victims, acknowledging that it can rise to $600 million.
The compensation fund began accepting claims on August 1st, and the deadline for filing a claim is December 31st. The fund accepts claims from anyone who was a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or an occupant of another vehicle that was injured in a car accident caused by the ignition switch defect. Those who file a claim and accept compensation, agree not to sue GM, while those who do not take part in the compensation fund are free to file a lawsuit against GM.
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries as result of a defective product, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact Khorrami Boucher LLP for a confidential consultation.