General Motors Co. (GM), one of the worlds largest auto manufacturing companies, struggled with more than 30 million auto recalls in 2014.
In response to defective ignition switches in many of its vehicles and a public uproar that led to personal injury lawsuits and congressional hearings, the company setup a victim compensation fund in August 2014.
The fund, administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, was accepting claims until Jan. 31, 2015. As the deadline for submitting claims approached, hundreds of motorists and their attorneys submitted last minute claims.
Final numbers are still being tallied, but reports from Bloomberg News indicate that GM received more than 4,000 injury claims. Of these, the company has already settled 130 claims. There are more than 400 fatal injury claims and 3,700 injury claims still pending review.
GM, though hit harder than other auto manufacturers, was not alone in recalling millions of vehicles in 2014. The industry as a whole recalled more than 60 million cars in the U.S. alone. The defects involved ignition capacity, airbag deployment, tires, power steering and a plethora of other hardware and software defects.
The GM fund is set up to reward claimants who can prove that they were injured after being involved in an accident with a GM vehicle where the airbag did not function properly. According to Feinberg, the fund is not accepting claims where the airbag did in fact deploy.
Individuals who actually accept compensation from the fund after submitting claims are barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit. This has not stopped hundreds of injured motorists from bypassing the victim compensation fund and preceding directly to personal injury lawsuits in district courts across the United States.
Feinberg has stated that GM, which has set us aside $600 million to compensate victims, is not involved in the allocation of the settlements. GM CEO Mary Barra has informed Kenneth Feinberg that he is permitted to independently make decisions without interference from the company.
Claims are likely to be processed throughout the late spring and early summer months.
The fact of the matter is that only an experienced GM recall lawyer can evaluate your injuries and determine whether you have a bona fide personal injury claim.
The Knoxville car accident lawyers at Greg Coleman Law have been working closely with injured persons throughout Knoxville, Tennessee. If you have been involved in an accident with a recalled GM vehicle, do not hesitate to contact us.