Over 4,000 people have made a claim against General Motors Co. (GM) because of injuries or deaths attributable to faulty ignition switches in multiple makes and models of GM vehicles.
The defective switches caused the vehicles to turn off if the car was jostled, or if a keychain was too heavy. The switch problem also caused the airbag system to fail, leading to several dangerous accidents.
After a worldwide recall affecting millions of GM vehicles, the automaker established a victims compensation fund which is being used to settle claims from eligible victims. Of the 4,180 claims which were filed, so far 51 claims for deaths and 70 claims for injuries have resulted in settlements.
The settlement fund is being administrated by Kenneth Feinberg, an outside attorney brought in by GM to oversee claims. Feinberg gained fame after managing the disbursement of other settlement funds after disasters such as the 9/11 attacks and the BP oil spill.
People wishing to make a claim against the settlement fund had until Jan. 31 to file their application, which consisted of a claim form and supporting evidence like photographs and police reports. Feinberg told CNBC that many of the claims are missing important supporting evidence, and that his office is currently working with those people to compile complete applications.
Individuals who accept payment from the compensation fund waive their right to sue GM for their accident. So far, no one who has been eligible for compensation has turned down the amount they were offered as settlement.
If a claimant is unhappy with the settlement offer, he or she can reject the settlement and choose to sue GM. Also, people who believe that the defective ignitions switches caused their accident but did not meet the claims deadline also have the option of suing the automaker.
If you believe that your accident was caused by a defective vehicle part, the attorneys at The Edwards Law Firm can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our experienced Tulsa auto accident lawyers will help you hold negligent auto manufacturers responsible.