In the past several months, General Motors has been at the center of a national controversy involving a serious auto defect that has been linked to a number of preventable auto accidents and injuries – including at least 13 deaths. The defect involves an ignition switch that can unintentionally switch from the “on” position to the “accessory” position.
The ignition switch issue has been found to seriously endanger motorists and others on the road because it can cause power to be shut off from a vehicle’s engine, steering, brakes, and air bags. As a result of the potential dangers the defect poses, GM has recalled millions of affected vehicles.
Affected vehicles and models include:
- Pontiac Solstice 2006-2010
- Pontiac G5 2007-2010
- Saturn Ion 2003-2007
- Saturn Sky 2007-2010
- Chevrolet Cobalt 2005-2010
- Chevrolet HHR 2006-2011
In addition to controversy involving the serious auto defect, General Motors has received scores of negative attention – as well as fines – for its failures to immediately address the problem. In fact, evidence turned up in investigations revealed that although GM engineers knew of the faulty ignition switch, GM did nothing to fix the problem. The company also willfully concealed information about the defect and withheld evidence about its role in crashes where people were injured or killed.
Compensation for Injured Victims & Families
Victims and families harmed by defective products have the legal right to file lawsuits against manufacturers who made these unsafe products available. Many victims and families who have been injured or lost loved ones as a result of the defective ignition switch have already filed lawsuits against GM. The automaker also recently announced a compensation fund for other victims.
General Motors will be accepting eligible claims from drivers, passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, and families who suffered losses as a result of auto accidents linked to vehicles with the defective ignition switch. According to GM, the company will be accepting claims from August 1 through December 31, 2014.
Key Details of GM’s Compensation Plan Announcement
The $400 million fund is managed by Kenneth Feinberg, an experienced mediator and administrator who has handled numerous other compensation funds.
- Fund will accept claims from August 1 through December 31, 2014
- GM will compensate victims and families for economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages.
- GM will also compensate for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
- Death Claims will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by an independent third party.
- Evaluation of injury claims will include taking into account the severity of the victim’s injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other factors.
- GM has set aside $400 million to fund claims , but may need to increase the amount if more claims are filed than expected.
For those affected by the faulty ignition switch, GM is offering a range of compensation options to help alleviate their financial burden. The company has established a process for submitting claims and evaluating them on an individual basis in order to determine what kind of compensation each victim may be eligible for.
Claimants have the option to seek economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering. GM has set aside $400 million to fund claims, however the company may need to increase the amount if more claims are filed than expected.
Source: G.M. Victim Compensation: How the Plan Works
Shook & Stone: Your Personal Injury Attorney in Las Vegas
At Shook & Stone, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys have dedicated their professional careers to fighting on behalf of victims harmed through no fault of their own, including victims hurt in car accidents or by defective products.
If you have questions about an auto accident that may involve any of the above GM vehicles, please contact our firm today for a free case evaluation.