GM ignition switch responsible for 124 deaths in US

Lawyers conclude processing claims related to defect in General Motors cars that company admitted knowing about.

    GM recalled 2.6 million cars in 2014 but admitted knowing about the problem for decades [AP]
    GM recalled 2.6 million cars in 2014 but admitted knowing about the problem for decades [AP]

    • Fault caused 124 deaths and 266 injuries
    • 91 percent of 4,342 claims received were dismissed by the compensation fund
    • General Motors knew about the fault for more than a decade
    • Company expects to pay up to $600m

    A compensation fund set up for victims of faulty ignition switches in General Motors vehicles has concluded that the defect was responsible for 124 deaths and 266 injuries. 

    GM to apologise to families of victims

    The fund, run by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, has finished processing the 4,342 claims it received by the Jan. 31 deadline. Of those, 91 percent were deemed ineligible or deficient. Claimants could not appeal Feinberg's decision.

    Victims' families are being offered compensation of at least $1m each, according to the Associated Press news agency.

    GM recalled More than 8 million Chevrolets and other small cars last year but acknowledged it knew about the ignition switch problems for more than a decade.

    As of March 31, GM had paid $200 million to settle claims filed with Feinberg. The company has said it expects to pay up to $600 million.

    Any claimants who accept compensation will waive the right to sue GM.

    Criminal charges

    In June 2014 the company said it had sacked 15 employees over their role in the scandal and announced it would set up the fund for victims.

    An internal investigation blamed the debacle on engineering ignorance and bureaucratic dithering, and denied a deliberate cover-up.

    GM paid a record $35m fine for failing to promptly report the bad ignition switches to US federal highway safety regulators.

    Last month, the Wall Street Journal newspaper reported that US federal prosecutors were considering bringing criminal charges against the company.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And AP


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