GM won't limit payouts to victims of ignition switch crashes

At least 13 people have died in crashes related to faulty ignition switches in vehicles manufactured by General Motors.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  June 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- General Motors will pay more than $1 million to the victims of crashes caused by a faulty ignition switch, attorney Kenneth Feinberg announced Monday.

Feinberg, who also designed the compensation programs for victims of 9/11 and the BP oil spill, will have sole discretion over determining the payouts for each of the 13 crashes deemed related to the defect.

"GM has agreed that it cannot challenge my ultimate determination," Feinberg said. "They have no right to appeal."

At least 13 drivers died as a result of an ignition switch installed in 2.6 million GM cars, including Chevrolet Cobalts. Feinberg also said Monday that passengers killed or injured in the crashes, as well as those in other vehicles involved in the crash or pedestrians injured, will also be eligible for compensation.

Each surviving spouse or dependent will receive $300,000, as well as a sum determined by the victim's lost earning potential. Those who are injured can follow Feinberg's predetermined formula, or enter individual negotiations to seek bigger payment "tied to the extraordinary circumstances of the claim."

Beyond that, Feinberg said, claimants may sue GM. He said he will not limit the potential payments of the relatives of those who were killed or those who received catastrophic injuries including brain damage, amputation, serious burns or paralysis.

The news comes the same day GM announced yet another recall of 7.6 million vehicles worldwide, also related to the ignition switch problems. Models as old as 1997 and as new as 2014 are covered under this most recent recall, bringing the total for the year up to nearly 29 million vehicles so far.

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