GM Recall & Ignition Flaw: Lawyer Says Issue is Responsible for 19 Deaths
The attorney running a compensation fund for victims of General Motors vehicle defects has claimed that a flaw in the ignition switches of GM vehicles is to blame for 19 deaths.
That allegation is up from the 13 deaths GM has claimed responsibility for because of the ignition issue and much less than the total number of death claims that have been filed against the carmaker, according to CNN Money.
Ken Feinberg, the attorney who is overseeing the compensation fund, said he's received 125 claims for death and 320 injury claims in just five weeks since he started the fund. So far, 31 of those claims have been deemed legitimate and hundreds are still under review.
Feinberg said he's denied only about a dozen claims.
"Already there are more deaths than GM said from day one," Feinberg said. "Of course there will be additional eligible deaths; how many is pure speculation, but there will be eligible death claims."
Families of victims who died can claim $1 million for the death, plus an estimate of victim's future earning potential and $300,000 each for surviving spouse and dependents. For injuries, victims can claim $20,000 for the least serious injuries and up to $500,000 for those who spent more than a month in the hospital.
The compensation fund requires people making claims to prove the ignition switch was a "proximate cause" of the accident.
"We have previously said that Ken Feinberg and his team will independently determine the final number of eligible individuals, so we accept their determinations for the compensation program," GM spokesman Dave Roman said. "What is most important is that we are doing the right thing for those who lost loved ones and for those who suffered physical injury."
GM first found out about the issue with the ignition switch about 10 years ago but didn't publicly acknowledge it until this year. Since then, the company has recalled 2.6 million cars because of the problem.
The problem arose in certain small Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn models. Drivers could accidentally bump the ignition switch, causing the car to lose the use of power steering, anti-lock brakes and airbags.
USA Today reported that a U.S. Senate subcommittee has been working on legislation based on the GM recalls. No concrete action has been taken to this point.
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