As of this week, General Motors has received more than one hundred wrongful death claims regarding victims of car accidents caused by a defective ignition switch.
GM, who developed a fund for the wrongful death claims beginning on August 1st has received more than 300 filed claims, with the number of wrongful death claims far exceeding the number GM officially linked to the ignition switch. Within 90 to 180 days after they are filed, each claim will be reviewed by GM attorney, Kenneth Feinberg, and his staff to determine which claims are eligible, and how much compensation to award them. Feinberg will have the final say in all decisions of eligibility and wrongful death compensation.
With $400-$600 million allocated to the defective ignition switch fund, GM says that wrongful death compensation will be at least $1 million, and could increase depending on special factors such as the number of dependents of each victim. There is no limit to the number of payouts, and those who submit claims will not waive their right to sue GM, unless they accept an award from the fund. The estimate does not include wrongful death compensation awarded to people who decide to file a lawsuit against GM instead of accepting fund money.
GM is also offering free loaner cars to those who bring in their recalled vehicles for repair, although they aren’t heavily advertising it. The loaner option is noted on their website, yet isn’t easily found, and there has not been any information given out at dealerships. Of the 2.6 million vehicles recalled, only 85,000 car owners have been able to get loaners while waiting for their cars to be fixed. GM spokesman Jim Cain stated, “It’s the kind of thing we wanted to dealers to have at their disposal to address customer concerns. It was something they could proactively offer if customers had concerns, or if they asked.”
GM issued an official recall for 2.6 million vehicles containing the faulty ignition switch earlier this year, after thirteen wrongful deaths were proven to have been caused by the defect. Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions, Pontiac G5s, Chevrolet HHRs, Pontiac Solstices, and Saturn Skys from the 2003-2007 model years were called back because the switches installed could easily cut off power to important features such as engines and air bags when lightly jostled.
Evidence shows that GM employees were aware of the defects at least a decade earlier, even though GM did not decide to recall the cars until early this year.
The amount of payment awarded to each eligible applicant will be determined using actuarial tables and average medical cost data. If you believe your injury or wrongful death of a loved one was caused by your recalled vehicle, please visit GMIgnitionCompensation.com to view criteria for eligibility.
If you meet the criteria for eligibility for the GM Ignition Compensation Fund, Hodes Milman Liebeck can provide you with the assistance you need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call (949) 640-8222 for a complimentary case evaluation.