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GM Extends Filing Deadline for Ignition Switch Compensation Claims

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When General Motors (GM) first created their settlement fund for victims of ignition switch defect related injuries and deaths, they set a deadline for claim submission of December 31, 2014. As the year neared its end, however, they extended that deadline to January 31, 2015.

GM started the fund on August 1, 2014, to compensate those vehicle owners and their families who could show they suffered serious injuries or deaths because of ignition switches malfunctioning in their vehicles. Claimants are required to fill out forms and provide evidence like police reports, proof the vehicle involved was one of those recalled, documentation on ignition switch failure, and more.

According to the most recent financial statement, GM has allocated $600 million for the settlement fund. Claimants who have their applications approved must drop any personal injury lawsuits they may have filed prior to being awarded any funds.

Deadline Extended to Allow More Car Owners to File

The Administrator of the GM fund, Kenneth R. Feinberg, announced the extension on November 17, 2014, citing the following reasons:

  • “Abundance of caution.”
  • Because GM mailed out recall notices to about 850,000 newly registered owners (of used vehicles) and to those who had a change in address or registration, in November—Feinberg wanted to give these owners time to file claims.

“Because of our determination to provide comprehensive notice and give each claimant an opportunity to file a claim in a timely manner,” Feinberg stated, “we have decided to extend the filing deadline an additional 30 days until January 31, 2015.”

GM stated it agreed with Feinberg’s recommendation.

GM Offers Settlements to 100 Claimants So Far

According to Detroit News, GM also faced pressure from safety advocates and from Congress to extend the program, as some car owners remain unaware of their eligibility to submit applications for compensation.

So far, over 2,200 individual claims have been submitted to the fund. Of these, 42 concerning ignition switch related deaths and 58 concerning ignition switch related injuries have been approved for compensation. Only 22 of these have been officially paid by GM. The rest have received settlement offers. So far, no one has refused payment, but claimants may do so if they believe they will be more successful with an individual ignition switch lawsuit.

Now, with the deadline extended, it is likely that GM will offer more settlements to cases currently under review. Each wrongful death claim will be awarded at least $1 million, with an additional $300,000 paid to surviving spouses and children.

GM Under Investigation

GM began recalling vehicles due to ignition switch defects in February 2014, but has been under scrutiny because of evidence that shows it was aware of the problem at least a decade before that. The company is currently under investigation by the Justice Department, Congress, and federal regulators for its alleged mishandling of the issue.

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  1. Bryant k AMES SR says:
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    Had accident in Pontiac grand am in 2005 and was hurt an damage the car.