19 Deaths Tied to Defective GM Ignition Switch
Victims’ compensation specialist Kenneth Feinberg has announced that General Motors will pay compensation to the families of 19 people who were killed as a result of defective ignition switches. The number of deaths tied to the defective ignition switch is expected to rise; Feinberg has received a total of 125 death claims so far, most of which have not yet been investigated. Experts predict the total number of deaths will rise to be closer to 100. In addition to the death claims, General Motors has received 58 claims for serious injuries and 262 for brief hospitalizations and outpatient care.
General Motors began accepting claims from victims in August following a recall of 2.6 million cars. The ignition switches in the recalled cars had the potential to turn an engine off while the car is being driven, causing power steering and airbags to fail. Most of the cars impacted by the recall were the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion, Chevrolet HHR, and Saturn Sky, all manufactured between 2003 and 2007. General Motors came under fire when evidence came forward that some GM employees were aware that the ignition switch was faulty for over a decade and failed to correct it.
GM has set up an ignition compensation site and will be collecting claims for deaths and injuries through the end of 2014. It is believed that General Motors will pay between $400 million and $600 million to settle claims. Those who accept settlements through General Motors waive their right to sue the company, and the estimated $400-$600 million figure does not include those who choose to sue instead.