As of Feb. 1, 2015, General Motors had received a total of 4,180 claims for compensation for ignition switch defects in its cars, according to Ken Feinberg, the official administering the victims compensation program. GM received 455 claims for death, 278 for catastrophic injuries and 3,447 for less serious injuries requiring hospitalization.
The number of claims found eligible for compensation rose to 128 from 112, according to the most recent report. The company’s compensation program has so far determined that 51 deaths, eight severe injuries and 69 other injuries are eligible to be compensated, for a total of 128 eligible claims. The report noted 482 claims had been deemed ineligible, while 1,103 are still under review. It appears that another 965 claims lacked sufficient paperwork or evidence and that 1,502 were submitted with no documentation at all.
The fund’s protocol set payment for eligible death claims to be at least $1 million. Payouts for severe injuries are calculated individually and take into account whether a long-term care plan is required. The fund began accepting claims in August, but GM said in November that it would extend the deadline for applications to its ignition switch compensation fund from Dec. 31, 2014, to Jan. 31, 2015. That has been done and apparently GM will not extend the deadline any further.
Just before the final deadline, two Democratic senators – Richard Blumenthal (D.-Conn.) and Edward Markey, (D-Mass.) called on GM to extend the deadline for application to the ignition switch fund for a second time, but GM declined to do so. GM spokesman James Cain told Law360, “We extended the deadline once, and we decided we have no plans to do it another time.” Sens. Blumenthal and Markey argued the Jan. 31 deadline did not provide enough time for victims who are still waiting on a decision about GM’s bankruptcy and related liability, which is still pending before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber in New York.
GM set aside an initial $400 million to cover its costs of compensation for claims on behalf of people injured or killed because of the faulty switches. All of this was to be used by the Compensation Fund. We will continue to represent all of our clients to the best of our ability and we believe that justice will be done.
Source: Reuters and Law360.com
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