GM compensation program has 23 eligible death claims

Article by Andrew Christian, on October 3, 2014

As of September 26, 2014, General Motors’ compensation program for victims of accidents linked to faulty ignition switches had deemed 23 death claims as well as 16 serious physical injury claims eligible. The program, as of that date, has already received 867 claims for compensation for deaths or serious injuries or deaths since becoming online on August 1, 2014.

The program-- being overseen by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg -- will continue to receive claims until Dec. 31 on behalf of individuals injured or killed in accidents related to the defective ignition switches, which could slip out of position, thereby stalling the vehicle and rendering its airbags not deployable. This defect has resulted to a recall of around 2.6 million earlier this year.

As of September 26, a total of 153 death claims had been filed to the program. According to GM executives, it is up to Feinberg to determine how many people will be eligible for compensation under the program.

Although GM has set aside $400 million to finance the program, executives have said that the fund has not been capped. GM has set that the total could reach $600 million.

Death claims determined to be eligible will receive at least $1 million, which could increase depending on factors like whether the deceased had any dependents. Feinberg's office recently disclosed that it has made the first cash offers to around 15 people.

At least three families have accepted settlement offers from the compensation program. They include the family of Trent Buzzard, whose accident in April 2009 rendered him paralyzed from the chest down, according to a lawyer for the family, Robert Hilliard.

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