GM Ignition Switch Settlement
General Motors has made significant strides towards settling the thousands of injury and death lawsuits that were filed over its use of defective ignition switches. Faulty GM ignition switches, which led to a 2014 recall of 2.6 million small cars, are linked to nearly 400 injuries and deaths.
GM in 2015 settled most of the ignition switch personal injury lawsuits filed against it. The automaker continues to deal with about 250 remaining death and injury claims. A series of six test (or “bellwether”) trials are scheduled for 2016 that should help to determine the outcome of these outstanding cases.
$575 Million Set Aside to Resolve Personal Injury Lawsuits
GM announced in September 2015 that it would pay $575 million to settle 1,380 ignition switch death and injury claims in addition to a shareholder class action lawsuit. The settlement resolved “more than half” of the personal injury lawsuits pending in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New York federal court, according to GM.
Compensation Fund Hands Out $595 Million to Victims
GM hired attorney Kenneth Feinberg to oversee a compensation fund that it hoped would steer ignition switch victims away from litigation. Feinberg reviewed 4,343 injury and death claims and found 399 eligible for compensation, including 124 deaths, 18 catastrophic injuries, and 257 injuries that required hospitalization or outpatient treatment. All 124 eligible death claimants were offered $1 million or more, and all accepted the offer. Of the 257 eligible injury claims, 221 accepted.
Feinberg offered $595 million in payments through the compensation fund. Those who accepted offers waived their right to file a GM ignition switch lawsuit.
GM Moves to Resolve Remaining Lawsuits
After opening up its checkbook in 2015, GM is fighting the 235 remaining injury and death claims consolidated in New York Federal District Court. In four out of six scheduled bellwether trials heard so far in 2016 GM has prevailed in 3 and confidentially settled another. The fifth and six bellwether trials are scheduled for September and November/December 2016.
General Motors has yet to have a fatal ignition switch crash case go to trial. It avoided trials by settling death cases with Nadia Yingling, whose husband James died in a 2013 crash involving a Saturn Ion, and the parents of Brooke Melton, who was killed in 2010 after the ignition switch in her Chevy Cobalt led to a crash in which the airbag failed to deploy.
Ignition Switch Questions? Get in Touch With ClassAction.com.
While GM has already set aside more than $1 billion to settle ignition switch injury and death cases, it may not be too late to file a claim. Find out your legal options by submitting a free claim evaluation form.