GM Considering Compensating All Victims of Faulty Ignition Switch Accidents
General Motors is working to create a plan that may provide compensation to all victims injured as a result of a faulty ignition switch ─ regardless of when their accident occurred.
An attorney representing the plaintiffs noted that GM’s compensation expert, Kenneth Feinberg said he plans to propose some form of compensation for all victims, whether or not their accident occurred prior to the company’s July 2009 bankruptcy declaration.
The current GM may be protected from all liability before its filing under bankruptcy law. Attorneys for the company recently met with a New York judge asking the court to uphold its bankruptcy provisions, protecting the company from other liabilities prior to July 2009. Victims and U.S. legislators have requested that GM waive their bankruptcy shield to settle the matter.
Faulty ignition switch linked to 13 deaths
GM says it has currently linked 13 deaths to the faulty ignition switch. The company is currently under investigation by the Justice Department, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission over why it waited nearly a decade to issue a recall for 2.6 million vehicles with a defective ignition switch. Engineers could have corrected the problem in 2004, but opted not to due to high costs and potential delays in launching the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt.
GM models impacted by this ignition switch error include:
- Chevrolet Cobalt: 2005-2010 models
- Chevrolet HHR: 2006-2011 models
- Pontiac G5: 2007-2010 models
- Pontiac Solstice: 2006-2010 models
- Saturn Ion: 2003-2007 models
- Saturn Sky: 2007-2010 models
The recall is due to a risk that the ignition switch may move out of the “run” position, causing a partial loss of electrical power and turning off the engine. Drivers are warned not to carry any other keys on the rings holding these car keys, as extra weight, rough road conditions, and jarring increases the risk. Some vehicles also have an issue where the ignition key can be removed when the ignition is not turned off, which could lead to a vehicle crash and subsequent injury to occupants and nearby pedestrians.
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