Feinberg Announces GM Recall Victims Payout PlanJuly 1, 2014
Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney in charge of distributing compensation for GM recall victims, announced that the company had developed a program that would decide which victims were eligible to receive compensation for deaths and injuries attributed to faulty ignition switches. Mr. Feinberg stated that the company granted him “full and sole discretion to decide which claims are eligible and how much money they should get.” In exchange, GM recall victims who accept compensation from the plan must agree not to file legal action against the car manufacturer.
At Least Thirteen Deaths Among GM Recall Victims
The recall involved more than 2.6 million GM vehicles manufactured from 2003 to 2011. The recall stems from a problem with the ignition system in which the car would lose power and the airbags would not deploy in a collision. The ignition switch issue has been blamed for 13 deaths and dozens of other crashes, according to GM. However, other sources estimate the number of GM recall victims to be significantly higher, since the company only counted front seat occupants in frontal crashes and excluded side impacts from its reports.
Eligibility Requirements for GM Recall Victims
Mr. Feinberg stated that GM recall victims can apply for the compensation fund starting August 1 and ending December 31. He also stated that the program will determine its payout amounts based on formulas developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but that there would be no limits on the potential awards. All drivers and passengers, both front and back seat, are eligible to file claims in accidents where the air bags failed to deploy. Pedestrians and passengers in other vehicles involved in accidents attributed to the ignition failures are also eligible to file claims as GM recall victims.
GM Recall Victims Pursue Legal Action
Mr. Feinberg, who is also handling settlements related to the 2010 BP oil spill disaster, expects that up to 90 percent of the GM recall victims will seek their remedy through the fund. Despite the promises of Mr. Feinberg and GM, thousands of GM recall victims and their families are still pursuing legal action against the company. Several reports have been released detailing the issue with the ignition switches and how the company attempted to cover up the problem, which has fed many of the legal cases.
Source: USA Today
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