Here’s the thing,
The vast majority of us have to be getting tired of hearing about news related to GM, and all of their recalls, but this one is different, according to the Detroit Free Press, survivors for over 100 people killed in what is thought to be related to GM’s recall related cars filed claims as of Friday. People also don’t think of the ones that weren’t killed, but injured in some sort of way, and for those, 184 claims were filed.
All of those claims were filed to Ken Feinberg, who is running the automakers compensation fund. It doesn’t seem like Feinberg is new to this sort of thing either, having ran this sort of thing before for the BP oil spill and the September 11th victim compensation fund.
This one will be interesting, because GM has only publicly acknowledged 13 deaths caused by their cars’ defects, and so to sift through the information, and see if the issues with the cars caused the deaths and injuries, there is a website set up for filing the claims. Pretty much, the person filing a claim has to present evidence that the injury or death was caused due to the defects for the cars, so not everyone who just owns these cars can file a claim, you need to have some sort of proof.
Straight off their compensation website, here are some interesting things:
The Program is purely voluntary; no individual is required to participate in the Program. Only if the individual is satisfied with the compensation provided, does he/she agree to waive their rights to litigate against GM.
Mr. Feinberg retains complete and sole discretion over all compensation awards to eligible victims, including eligibility to participate in the Program and the amounts awarded. By agreement, GM cannot reject the Administrator’s final determinations as to eligibility and amount of compensation.
The Program has no aggregate cap; GM has agreed to pay whatever the Administrator deems appropriate in each and every individual case.
Individuals who previously settled their claims with GM before knowing of the ignition switch defect will be permitted to enter the Program and may receive additional compensation.
Contributory negligence attributed to the driver of the vehicle e.g. intoxication, speeding, etc. is irrelevant; the new Program will not examine or evaluate any such contributory negligence.
Claimants filing a claim with the Administrator will be required to prove that the ignition switch defect in an “eligible vehicle,” as defined in the Program, was the “proximate cause” of the death or physical injury in the accident.
The Program will recognize three different categories of eligible claims: Individual Death Claims, Individual Claims involving the most serious physical injuries (e.g. quadriplegic and paraplegic injuries, permanent brain damage, etc.) and less serious physical injuries involving hospitalization or, in limited circumstances, immediate outpatient medical treatment.
Eligible claims will be paid within 90-180 days from the time that a submitted claim is deemed “substantially complete” by the Administrator.
Emphasis mine. I find it interesting that even if the person was driving drunk, and got into an accident and died, the families still may be compensation, but that gets into some very grey area, because it raises a lot of “what if” questions. Like, if the person wasn’t drinking, maybe they would have put on their seat belt, and lived through it, etc. But I think GM thought about that, and realized that it’s just better to give compensation to the families, which if true, good on GM.
It seems to look like you will need quite a bit of documentation and proof in order to get your claim pushed through as legitimate to get compensation, and remember if they agree to the compensation, then they also agree to not pursue any litigation against GM, although if they do get compensated, families where someone died will be getting at least 1 million dollars.
If people keep coming forward like they have been, then we will see if GM really had an unlimited cap, or if that “estimated 400-600 million” is really a cap to how much they want to pay.
So, this popped up on my facebook feed earlier today, first time I’ve seen it.
And that, that’s the thing about today’s GM news.