More than 600 victims of crashes involving General Motors vehicles have filed a lawsuit against the automaker seeking compensation. The majority of those involved in the suit say they are ineligible for the GM settlement fund that was established to compensate GM ignition recall victims, according to a new CNN article.
The lawsuit, which was filed by attorney Robert Hilliard, includes over 600 plaintiffs, including the families of 29 people killed in crashes involving faulty ignition switches. In June, GM released details of a GM fund that would be used to compensate victims who were injured or killed in accidents involving 2.6 million with defective ignition switches. However, the plaintiffs in the recently filed suit aren’t eligible for that plan because their vehicle was part of a later ignition switch recall and not the earlier one.
“This makes absolutely no sense that the fund is restricted to the first 2.6 million vehicles initially recalled for ignition switch issues,” said Hilliard. “GM needs to step up and acknowledge the blood on its hands from all of these recalled cars.”
The lawsuit includes victims who were involved in crashes that happened after GM emerged from bankruptcy restructuring in 2009; however, Hilliard has more than 200 additional plaintiffs involved in pre-2009 crashes he says he will seek to add to the suit.
Also part of the lawsuit are some victims who are eligible for the GM settlement fund but feel that the protocol outlined won’t give them fair compensation.
The GM fund is set to begin accepting claims on Aug. 1 for eligible victims. GM hired victims’ compensation specialist attorney Ken Feinberg to create the program amid pressure from lawmakers and victims to compensate the potentially hundreds of victims. One estimate released by GM in its quarterly filing estimates the total payout from the fund to be about $400 million, although the company has set no cap to the fund itself nor individual payments.
Thomas J. Henry is representing more than 1,000 GM recall victims across the United States and has been investigating injuries and deaths linked to the recall since day one. The firm launched a nationwide media investigation into the recall in April, which brought forth thousands of affected individuals who had information critical to the investigation – information that the firm has handed over to federal agencies also investigating GM’s sluggish response the recall. As more and more individuals have flocked to Thomas J. Henry for representation, the firm has continued to push GM for a victim settlement fund. The firm has had several talks with GM’s victim compensation expert Ken Feinberg regarding appropriate victim compensation for the thousands affected by a fatal design flaw in ignition switches which left numerous dead and countless others seriously injured.