GM compensation program already got 107 death claims linked to defective ignition switch

Article by Andrew Christian, on August 29, 2014

General Motors' program aimed at compensating victims of crashes tied to a defective ignition switch in its vehicles has already received claims for 107 deaths as of August 26, 2014, according to Amy Weiss, a spokeswoman for Kenneth Feinberg who is overseeing the program.

She told Reuters that those deaths were among 309 claims the program has received so far. The program started accepting claims on August 1 and will do so until December 31. For a claim to become eligible, it will be assessed by Feinberg and his staff to determine whether the defective ignition switch was indeed at fault for the serious physical injury or death.

If so, Feinberg will determine the amount of compensation to be awarded. At 107, the figure already exceeds the 13 deaths that GM has officially linked to the faulty switch.

Jere Beasley, a lawyer representing a number of people who have submitted claims, remarked that the pace for filing claims appeared a bit slower than initially expected, partly since lawyers may be waiting to see the amount of compensation to be offered for claims before submitting new ones.

Likewise, it gives lawyers more time to obtain evidence for determining whether accidents could be eligible before submitting claims. Feinberg said in June that determinations of eligibility for claims will be made within 90 to 180 days after submission.

Robert Hilliard, who represents hundreds of people who are either filing claims with the program or suing GM in court, remarked that he expects the number of claims to grow steadily.

GM has allocated $400 million to cover compensation through the program, but has not placed a limit on the amount of total payouts is not capped. Under the program's protocol, eligible claims for deaths tied to the faulty ignition switch could be awarded at least $1 million. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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