A special compensation program created by General Motors for individuals affected by its faulty ignition switches is in full swing, but not very many of the claims have been reviewed or approved for settlement. So far, 1,772 claims have been filed regarding injuries and deaths that were caused by the automotive defects, but only 61 of those claims have been approved.
The program was launched in August. Since that time, claimants have reported 196 instances of death, 116 instances of catastrophic injury and 1,460 instances of other types of injury caused by the faulty ignition switches.
Defects Resulted in Millions of Recalled Automobiles
General Motors has been subjected to a great deal of public scrutiny because it waited more than a decade to recall its dangerously defective automobiles with ignition-switch issues. The defects can result in the ignition switches turning off at any moment, rendering the affected automobiles' breaks and airbags inoperable. The defects have caused numerous fatal and injurious car crashes and resulted in the recall of 2.6 million affected automobiles in 2014.
According to the attorney managing the claims program for General Motors, all claims will be reviewed by his office to determine if they qualify for compensation. Thus far, only 61 compensation offers have been made to the 1,772 individuals who have filed claims applications. Thirty of the offers were made regarding fatal accidents. Thirty-one of the offers were made regarding injurious accidents. As of Friday, 25 offers had been accepted by claimants and none had been rejected. The claims program will continue taking applications until December 31 and General Motors has reserved $400 million for victim compensation.
Injured Parties Can Still Seek Independent Claims
Just because General Motors has created this claims program does not mean it is the only avenue for victims of faulty ignition switches to seek financial restitution. Those affected by General Motors defects -- whether they be injured accident victims or family members of those who were killed -- may also be able to pursue independent product liability claims in civil court.
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