By: Gregory L. Laker, Attorney
It has been extensively reported that General Motors Co. (GM) has recalled 2.6 million vehicles due to ignition switch problems that can cause vehicles to “slip from ‘run’ to ‘accessory’ or ‘off’ positions while being driven.” The Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce even conducted an investigation and prepared a memorandum concerning this defect.
The ignition switch defect can cause vehicles to stall, which in turn can cause the power to brakes and power steering to shut off. This defect can also prevent airbags from deploying. GM has acknowledged that this defect is connected with at least 32 crashes and 13 deaths. These defects are associated with vehicle model years going back to 2003. The complete Recall list includes vehicles, not all of which are covered under the compensation program.
The ability to sue GM for damages based on these product defects is in question, given GM’s 2009 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. In its bankruptcy, General Motors, Corp., sold substantially all of its assets of General Motors, LLC (new GM). The United States Bankruptcy Court, S.D. New York has yet to determine whether the sale of assets, also known as a 363 sale, would bar ignition switch litigation. A decision is expected in early 2015.
However, in the face of mounting criticism because of these defects, GM created a compensation program to pay automobile accident victims killed or physically injured as a result of the defective GM ignition switches, at least as to certain GM vehicles. GM has set aside an initial $400 million in compensation. This fund does not have a cap on the amount it can pay in compensation to those deemed eligible under the fund. These determinations are made according to GM’s Final Protocol.
Claimants are required to provide substantial documentation in support of their claims. This has proven to be no small feat. The Compensation Fund’s detailed overall program statistics, as of December 24, 2014, showed that of the 2,489 claims submitted, 100 were eligible, 306 were ineligible, 568 were deficient, 754 were under review, and 761 were submitted without supporting documentation.
GM Ignition Switch Recall List
If you or a loved one has been injured by a GM defective ignition switch, it is very import that you act quickly to protect your rights. Please contact attorneys Greg Laker or Scott Gilchrist at 317-636-6481 so you do not lose your right to file a claim. The deadline to submit claims to the fund is January 31, 2015.
Cohen and Malad, LLP has successfully represented numerous individuals and class members in defective product suits. If you or a loved one suspects that you have a claim then contact us for your free legal consultation. We look forward to hearing from and working to give power to your voice
photo credit: Chris Campbell via photopin cc