Today, General Motors, through Ken Feinberg, a compensation expert hired by GM, announced a plan that sets a $1 million starting point for each death in accidents caused by a defective ignition switch in GM cars. The plan envisions compensation for a much greater number of victims and families whose loved ones died than the 13 deaths that GM has publicly linked to the defect. There is no cap on the amount of money GM has agreed to spend on victims’ payments, and the company will not seek to assert protection from liability involving incidents before its July 10, 2009, bankruptcy restructuring agreement.
Commenting on the GM settlement program, Elizabeth J. Cabraser stated, "On behalf of our over 100 crash victim clients, we take Ken Feinberg’s announcement as positive news, and commend his effort. The announced protocol — assuming it is administered independently as GM promises — will provide prompt and reasonable compensation to many ignition switch defect crash victims. Others with strong and serious claims are not-yet-included under the protocol. We hope and continue to urge that the protocol be expanded to include all recall vehicles, that its provisions add flexibility to deal with the realities of actual defect-related crashes, so that it can become a truly effective alternative to litigation for most victims."
Also today, as reported by the Associated Press, General Motors’ safety crisis worsened when the automaker added 8.2 million vehicles to its ballooning list of cars recalled over faulty ignition switches. The latest recalls involve mainly older midsize cars and bring GM’s total this year to 29 million, surpassing the 22 million recalled by all automakers last year.
GM said the company is aware of three deaths, eight injuries and seven crashes involving the vehicles, although it has no conclusive evidence that faulty switches caused the accidents. GM CEO Mary Barra said the recalls stem from an extensive safety review within the company.
Learn more about the GM ignition switch recall and the legal rights of the injured.