The Latest on GM’s Ignition Switch Recall

November 20, 2014

General Motors has extended the filing deadline for its victim compensation fund set up for individuals injured as a result of GM’s use of defective ignition switches.  The filing deadline has been extended to January 31, 2015.  The extension comes in the wake of a New York Times report of GM’s failure to notify the family of a woman killed in an ignition switch related accident of their right to file a claim.

The compensation fund has been set up for claims made by individuals injured as the result of GM’s use of defective ignition switches in certain models of the Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion, and Pontiac G5.  According to the Times, “Officials at the automaker knew about problems in the cars for more than a decade, but failed to alert regulators and the public until this year. The cars have a defective ignition switch that can suddenly cut off engine power and deactivate airbags.  There is evidence that years before issuing recalls, G.M. was aware of ignition issues in other cars with eerily similar problems, including the Impala, but accidents involving those vehicles are not covered by the fund.”

So far 2,105 claims have been filed with the compensation fund.  217 of those claims involve cases in which an individual was killed.  However, the fund has only made 40 compensation offers, which require the injured parties and their families to waive their rights to sue GM.

Importantly, failure to file by January 31, 2015 does not extinguish the legal rights of injured individuals or their families to pursue legal action against GM.  While the compensation fund may or may not facilitate a resolution for injured parties, it is primarily a cost-saving/public relations measure taken by GM to address a widely publicized failure to protect the public from GM’s defective product.  In other words, the fund is designed to benefit GM, not the injured victims.  If you believe you have a claim against GM, you should contact an experienced product liability lawyer to ensure that you receive just compensation.

If you or a loved one were injured as the result of a defective GM vehicle, regardless of whether the vehicle was recalled, contact the Ohio GM ignition switch lawyers of Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA to discuss your case.

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