General Motors has announced that they will be setting up a compensation plan for victims of accidents that occurred in the manufacturer’s cars that were recalled.
Drivers, passengers, pedestrians and people in other vehicles that were involved in accident with a GM vehicle and who suffered injuries may be eligible to file a claim. Families who lost a loved one in a fatal accident involving a GM vehicle are also eligible to file a claim.
The announcement was made by Kenneth Feinberg, a leading compensation expert and the same person who handled the compensation claims for victims of 9/11. Feinberg will decide if and how much compensation a victim of their family may receive.
Only those who were injured in an accident that was directly caused by the faulty ignition switch can file a claim. The program excludes any claims stemming from the millions of other vehicles recalled by General Motors this past year.
The compensation program will recognize three different categories of eligible claims:
- Death claims
- Serious physical injury claims (brain damage, paralysis, etc.)
- Claims involving less serious physical injuries, but that may have required hospitalization or other medical treatment
Victims may begin applying for compensation on Aug. 1, and the process will be open until Dec. 31, 2014. Feinberg says he will not consider whether those injured in an accident contributed to the cause by speeding, not wearing a seatbelt or driving recklessly.
Claims will be processed between 90 and 180 days of when the claim is received, and recipients will receive whatever amount the Administrator deems appropriate. Feinberg intends to follow the same methodology he used when handling the 9/11 victim fund, a formula based on the victim’s age, earning potential and severity of injury.
There is no fee to apply for a claim, however, victims who settle will lose their right to sue the company. Feinberg does proclaim that those who wish to file a lawsuit rather than go through GM’s system may do so.
To read more about the decision, view the press release here.
You can also stay up-to-date on the GM investigation by visiting our timeline page.