|July 30, 2014|
Previously published on July 18, 2014
On June 30, 2014, General Motors unveiled a settlement protocol that would compensate persons injured and families of loved ones killed in accidents triggered by the defective ignition switch in millions of its cars. The defect caused the cars to suddenly lose power, often resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicles, as well as disabling the airbags. It has been estimated that over 300 persons may have died in crashes linked to the defective ignition switch.
Under the GM compensation plan, the company pledges to promptly resolve certain death and injury claims, waive certain potential defenses, and address medical liens.
The size of the compensation will vary, depending on how serious the injuries were. Victims will be compensated for their financial loss and their pain and suffering. For death claims, the family of the victim will receive $1 million. Additional compensation will be provided for lost earnings. There are also payments of $300,000 for a spouse and each dependent.
Individuals who were injured and treated at a hospital or outpatient medical facility may also be eligible to receive compensation; they may receive $20,000 for staying in the hospital for one night and up to $500,000 for 32 or more nights.
In order to participate in GM's recall compensation plan, an individual's claim must satisfy three requirements: First, you must have sustained an injury in an accident involving an eligible GM vehicle. You do not have to be the owner, driver, or even a passenger of the car so long as your injury was caused by an accident involving an eligible vehicle.
Second, only certain kinds of injuries are covered. In its current form, the GM payment plan compensates death, catastrophic injury, and other injuries that required hospitalization within 48 hours of a crash.
Finally, the ignition defect must have caused or contributed to the injury. Currently, GM's compensation plan does not cover accidents in which the airbag deployed, even if the driver or occupants were injured.
Elizabeth Cabraser, the chair of Lieff Cabraser's personal injury practice group, notes the GM compensation plan is a "good start," but that there are still some notable deficiencies in it.
Cabraser explains: "For one thing, the plan is limited to the 2.6 million cars recalled in three batches beginning in February over the ignition-switch defect, but the automaker has issued additional rounds of recalls involving over 12 million vehicles with some key-system defect since then. The plan needs to parallel the scope of the recalls over the ignition problems." In addition, it has been reported that GM has yet to recall another 2 million GM vehicles with the same defective key switch.
Legal Resources for the Injured in GM Key Recall Car Accidents
Under the GM payout plan, those injured because of the ignition switch failure can begin filing claims on August 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. There is no fee to file a claim.
However, we strongly recommend eligible persons consult legal counsel prior to filing any claim, in order to ensure that they obtain their full recovery under the claims program. Maximizing compensation under the GM recall compensation program requires a thorough investigation of the facts concerning the accident and injuries suffered, as well as the presentation of documents, records, and other supporting information in a compelling manner. We expect to answer follow up questions and negotiate with the claims administrator in many cases.