General Motors Company (GM) has begun the process of evaluating claims and paying out settlement funds to some of the thousands of drivers injured by the company’s defective ignition switches.
GM created the compensation fund with the expectation of paying out $400 to $600 million to claimants who had been injured or killed in accidents caused by the defective ignition switch. The deadline to file a claim with the fund ended on Saturday, Jan. 31.
The GM Compensation Fund is being overseen by Kenneth Feinberg, an independent attorney hired by the automaker. Feinberg is experienced in handling large-scale settlement claims, and also supervised the distribution of funds after events like September 11th and the BP oil spill disaster. As of the deadline, approximately 4,180 claims had been filed with the settlement fund. Of these claims, GM has settled with 51 families whose loved one was killed, and approximately 70 other claimants who were injured as a result of the defective ignition switches.
Feinberg and his team are still evaluating individual cases, including over 600 claims which were filed in the ten days before the deadline. Of the claims that have been reviewed thus far, nearly 3,000 are deficient and lack the requisite paperwork to complete the claim. Feingold’s office is working with these claimants to complete the application process. While confidentiality agreements prohibit Feingold from discussing the amounts of each settlement, he did indicate in a report with CNBC that no eligible claimant had rejected the settlement.
People who were injured as a result of the defective ignition switches in their GM vehicle are no longer eligible to file a claim with the compensation fund, if they have not already done so. However, injured people who did not file a claim, or who wish to reject the settlement offer, will still have the option of filing a lawsuit in court.
If you or your family member was injured, and you suspect that a vehicle defect may be to blame, contact the attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan. Our experienced product liability and auto accident attorneys know how to hold the makers of defective products responsible for their actions, and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.