Florida drivers who follow the news are likely aware of the General Motors ignition switch product liability cases. As we mentioned in a previous blog, the company had to recall millions of vehicles, and multiple lawsuits and claims have been brought against the automobile manufacturer. Trials are set to begin for unsettled cases next year.
It’s reported that the representative appointed to oversee settlements with claimants has recently updated the total number of victims. It is currently accepted that at least 45 people were killed in car crashes involving GM cars with the now-documented faulty ignition switches. Sixty-eight people suffered injuries. Claims accepted as eligible for compensation total 112 thus far.
The numbers, however, remain somewhat fluid. Reportedly a total of 303 death claims and 2,407 personal injury claims have been made and that 202 of the injuries were catastrophic. According to the fund administrator, 738 of them are still under review. A total of $400 million has been set aside to cover compensation for eligible claims. This number is also fluid. Another $200 million could be added by the automaker.
These numbers sound astonishing, but to the victims and their families, it’s likely that no amount is sufficient. What the compensation can do, however, is allow for financial security where needed.
Helping ease the burden of rising medical expenses and lost wages is a very real benefit to seeking compensation. For those who lost loved ones, it is a way for the responsible party to be punished for allowing a dangerous product to remain in use. For over 11 years neither a recall nor a warning to drivers of the ignition switch’s accident-causing potential was issued.
According to the report, death claim benefits cleared by the fund will be $1 million for each claim, plus $300,000 to surviving spouses and children in restitution. This is a very complex situation involving a huge number of families, advocates and dollars. However, the basics are the same as any product liability case would be: accountability for loss because of an unsafe product.
Source: Auto World News, “GM Faulty Ignition Switch Death Toll Rises To 45” Matt Mercuro, Jan. 12, 2015