It’s estimated that the victim settlement fund will likely pay out between $400 million and $600 million in claims in the growing General Motors product liability case. Whatever ends up as the total, it’s a staggering amount of compensation that will, hopefully, help families and individuals recover from their devastating losses. Whether in California or elsewhere, the people making claims are not only dealing with the aftermath of a car crash, they are dealing with the emotional upheaval that has come from the knowledge that the automobile manufacturer might have prevented their losses with a timely, honest recall of the vehicles involved.
According to the latest reports, there are now 64 deaths and 108 injuries attributable to the faulty ignition switch in GM vehicles identified as part of the recall. The manufacturer has admitted on the record that it hid knowledge of the defective ignition switch for 13 years. A specially appointed settlement fund administrator has been reviewing 4,343 claims submitted since August 2014. Applications for review are no longer being accepted.
Reportedly, 1,571 claims are presently under review. They include 1,415 injuries and 156 deaths. Documentation is needed for another 781 claims; however, reports are they will likely be denied if proper proof isn’t presented.
There remains outstanding a decision by a United States bankruptcy judge as to whether or not about 178 individual and class-action lawsuits against GM can proceed. The auto manufacturer became a different entity after filing bankruptcy. Adding to the complexity is the reported decision needed by the civil court judge concerning whether or not the cases can proceed in a consolidated manner. Damages sought allegedly total up to $10 billion. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits chose not to participate in the settlement fund, desiring to seek a greater amount in compensation for their losses.
In Canada, an additional 17 class-action lawsuits have been filed. Investigations by 48 state attorneys general across the U.S. are ongoing. Criminal charges may be brought against GM by the Justice Department.
Most car accident victims wouldn’t find themselves tied up in this type of legal process. Strong negotiations with insurance adjusters can often result in an acceptable settlement. If not, an effective trial presentation can prevail.
Source: MSN.com, “Official GM ignition switch death toll rises to 64” Clifford Atiyeh, Mar. 11, 2015