GM Compensating Some Pre-Bankruptcy Accident Victims
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Dec 15, 2015 in Product Recalls
In response to its decade-long failure to disclose information about a defective ignition switch, General Motors (GM) created a compensation fund for injury victims and those who lost a loved one because of the defective vehicles. The fund served as a way for the automaker to offer compensation to victims on its own terms.
Because of a bankruptcy filing in 2009, GM has been shielded from liability for ignition switch accidents that happened before the filing. A judge ruled to uphold that immunity last April, but the decision has been appealed. A ruling is expected next year.
Until then, many active ignition switch cases remain on hold as GM fights to maintain its protection from pre-bankruptcy accidents. Many claimants fear they may never receive compensation for their injuries and losses if the immunity is upheld.
For that reason, some pre-bankruptcy victims filed claims with the compensation fund thinking that it may be their only option for compensation.
Compensation Fund Details
The fund, led by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, concluded its payment offers to eligible victims in July and has just released its final report detailing the number of victims who received compensation.
A total of $595 million was paid out to 399 of 4,343 claims the fund received. GM originally estimated the total payout would reach $625 million. Included in the 399 eligible claims were 18 catastrophic injuries, 124 deaths and 257 other types of injuries.
Thirty-two percent of claims or a total of 129 claims that received compensation were victims of accidents that happened prior to GM filing for bankruptcy.
A little more than 90 percent of the compensation offers were accepted by victims or family members of victims who filed claims.
Despite evidence that some victims drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol, engaged in reckless driving, or were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident, GM still settled many claims.
If you have been injured by a defective product, contact the experienced attorneys at Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice today for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.