Death Toll Grows to 32 Due to GM’s Faulty Ignition Switches

The General Motors Co. compensation fund reported the official ignition switch death toll is now at 32 people as the update continues.

So far, there have been a total of 1,851 death and injury claims filed. The deadline to file a claim for any driver, passenger, pedestrian or occupants of another vehicle that suffered injuries or had a family member who was killed in connection to an ignition switch related crash is December 31, 2014.

The Wall Street Journal reviewed new emails that show GM took specific action to order replacement parts almost two months before the company notified safety regulators about the need for a recall.

GM claimed that no actions were taken until a January 31st meeting when an executive committee decided to recall the Chevrolet Cobalt and some other older cars. GM officially notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the need for a recall on February 7th.

GM has been criticized for waiting more than a decade to begin recalling millions of vehicles with ignition switch problems that have been linked to fatalities. The ignition switch can slip out of position, causing the vehicle to stall and disable the air bags. This defect led to the recall of more than 2.6 million vehicles this year.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg has been hired by GM to run the compensation program. Feinberg handled the compensation claims for many catastrophes such as the September 11, 2001 attacks, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and others. He has been given free rein to determine the eligibility criteria and to approve or deny claims. The amount of compensation has not been capped and GM reportedly has set aside at least $400 million to cover costs.

Under the program’s protocol, eligible death claims can expect a payout of at least $1 million, depending on whether the deceased had any dependents or whether any other “extraordinary circumstances” apply. Once claims are approved, claimants can either accept the cash offer or pursue a legal case. A spokeswoman for the program said 23 of 31 offers have been accepted; no one has rejected an offer so far.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Feel free to contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 800-246-HURT (4878) to discuss your options.

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