The GM Ignition Switch Scandal Continues to Rage

The General Motors (GM's) Compensation Claims Facility has recently announced that 2 more deaths are being attributed to their defective ignition switches. According to GM, this brings the total number of deaths to 38, however, there is speculation that the number of wrongful deaths caused by the defective switches is larger and will continue to grow as defective GM vehicles remain on the road.

Before the recent announcement of the additional deaths, GM's claims resolution facility had received a total of 2,262 claims that involved injury and/or death. The program was started on August 1st after a massive scandal engulfed GM, whereby it was found the giant car manufacturer had waited more than 10 years to initiate a recall on vehicles that were known to have faulty ignition switches. The defective switches can cause a vehicle to lose power, disabling power steering, braking, and airbag deployment in the event of a crash.

Despite the numbers GM has published through their claims resolution program, it remains many's belief that the 10+ year recall delay of 2.6 million vehicles has resulted in the traumatic injuries of several thousand and an unknown number of deaths. (To see the list of GM vehicles that are on the recall list, please visit GM's ignition recall update page.)  

GM Ignition Switch Claims: Inside the Numbers

If you drive a GM and believe your crash was caused by a faulty ignition switch, it's important that you understand the reality behind the numbers being reported by the GM Compensation Facility.

Above we stated that GM has presently received 2,262 claims. Included in this number were 239 wrongful death claims. Only 38 of those claims have been officially approved by GM, meaning the other death claims are currently being rejected. Additionally, of the thousands of claims made by people who are reporting injuries related to the vehicle defect, GM has only approved 51.

The large disparity between claims made and claims approved by GM should tell you that having an experienced defective products attorney on your side is crucial to ensuring you are being fairly represented against GM. The car manufacturer is going to require extensive documentation as well as any number of pieces of evidence to validate your ignition switch claim. If you fail to follow their protocol, you risk being denied the opportunity of substantial compensation.

Has GM paid the Price?

In May 2014 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) levied a record-setting fine of $35 million against GM for their delay and essential cover-up of the defective ignition switch problem that plagued multiple years and models. Included in their public scolding was a requirement that they undergo 3 years of monitoring, or in other words, be placed on a type of "probation."

GM has estimated that it may be forced to pay out as much as $400-600 million in injury and wrongful death claims. 

For those who suffered serious injury or lost a loved one to GM's negligence, the question of whether or not GM has paid the price is easy to answer: No. 

Receiving compensation in a product's case can never replace the entirety of what was taken from you, however, it can help to ensure the following:

  • future medical bills are paid
  • attend to ongoing health concerns
  • economic needs are met
  • GM is held accountable

However, as stated above, before any of the above can happen, it remains important that you work with an experienced personal injury attorney to build the strongest possible case against GM. Taking this step will work to increase your odds of winning your defective ignition case against the car giant.

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