The fund setup by GM to compensate those who were injured and the families of those who lost their lives in GM vehicles with faulty ignition switches has concluded.
In total, GM paid out $594.5 million spread over 399 approved death and injury claims. The compensation fund, run by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, dealt with 4,343 claims.
Compensation was accepted by 90 percent of those who were offered it, including all 124 death claims. Every approved death claim received at least $1 million. By accepting the claims, the victims had to waive their rights to sue GM over the issue.
The fund covered injuries and deaths that occurred in small GM cars, roughly 2.6 million of which were fitted with faulty ignition switches which can cause the airbags to not deploy in a collision.
Legally, GM was not bound to pay for about 128 of the 399 approved claims because they occurred before the company’s bankruptcy in 2009, therefore only applying to the old GM. Also, GM points out that in 74 percent of the death claims, some type of driver error, whether it be operating the vehicle under the influence or excessive speed, led to the accident, but the company did not consider this as evidence when making its decisions.
As of right now, the ignition switch scandal has cost GM roughly $2 billion, including a $900 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Hundreds of personal injury and death lawsuits are still pending over the issue, which will cost GM more money before this is all over.
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