General Motors (GM) has issued five recalls for over seventeen million cars that have defective ignition switches, including models that have been in production since 1997. Millions of people could be owed millions in compensation.
The administrator of GM announced that the families of those killed in accidents caused by the defective switch could receive up to one million dollars for their hardship, and GM’s attorney Kenneth Feinberg announced that there would be no limit on the amount of money the company is willing to pay to compensate these individuals.
Feinberg was hired by GM to manage the compensation fund. He has experience doing this having been a manager for the BP oil spill compensation fund. According to Feinberg, GM will pay whatever is deemed necessary whether its thousands for someone who spent a night in a hospital, or millions for those with chronic conditions such as paralysis or brain damage.
How the Compensation is Calculated
Compensation for those with the most severe injuries, and for the deceased will be calculated using an appraisal of each victim’s lifetime earnings as determined by statistics from the Bureau of Labor. Individuals who accept compensation from GM relinquish their right to sue GM. However, it is possible to claim compensation without giving up the right to sue.
Who is Eligible for Compensation?
Victims must apply for compensation between August 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. Individuals who were in crashes due to the ignition switch fault before GM’s bankruptcy declaration in 2009 may also apply for compensation. Those who have already settled ignition switch cases with GM may be due further compensation.