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GM fund denies compensation for victims of ignition switch defect

| Aug 19, 2015 | Auto Product Liability

Many people in Minnesota may remember the massive recall that General Motors issued in early 2014 over faulty ignition switches. As of Aug. 3, the settlement fund has concluded its review of the related death claims, many of which were denied.

The recall encompassed more than 2.6 million vehicles, and the company set up a compensation fund in June 2014 for the injured and death victims after an internal audit found that GM employees had not reported safety issues since 2001. GM originally reported knowing of only 13 related deaths, but on Aug. 3, it was announced that at least 124 families who filed death claims with the fund will receive compensation.It was also announced that 274 injuries resulted from the defect, and 17 of those were serious injuries that caused double amputation, paraplegia, permanent brain damage, pervasive burns and quadriplegia. The claimants who accept GM’s settlement will receive a minimum of $1 million each but have to drop all lawsuits and waive their right to future lawsuits related to the ignition switch.

While nearly 400 claims are being settled under the settlement fund, many more have been rejected. The fund received 4,343 injury and death claims related to the recalled ignition switches, and 3,594 injury claims and 350 death claims were denied, which is almost 91 percent of them. As of Aug. 7, there was one injury claim pending final review. However, the final number of injuries and deaths could be higher than found in the fund’s review. GM is facing 172 lawsuits over the defect, and there are 100 class action lawsuits pending that accuse the recalls of causing economic harm.

Sometimes defective motor vehicle claims are more complex when a large corporation is involved. Victims who find themselves in such situations could talk with personal injury attorneys about how to approach such lawsuits.