General Motors recently announced the details of its GM settlement fund for victims of the ignition switch recall. The fund, created by outside attorney Ken Feinberg, breaks down claims into three major categories: Individual Death claims, Category One personal injury claims, and category two personal injury claims. The following is an overview of how Feinberg proposes to handle claims of death and Category One personal injury.
Track A or Track B
Those who submit claims Individual Death claims or Category One personal injury claims – essentially catastrophic injuries – will be able to select from one of two tracks to resolve the claim: Track A or B. Track A, also called Presumptive Compensation, is designed to resolve settlement for victims quickly and with less information required. Track B, or Complete Economic Analysis, is a longer process but takes into account a wide range of information.
Individual Death Claims: Track A vs. Track B
According to the GM fund guidelines, Track A will compensate claimants based on standard economic loss calculations using a variety of information including:
- Decedent’s historical earnings
- Decedent’s employment benefits
- Decedent’s age
- Age and state of members of the decedent’s household who are dependents of the decedent
Furthermore, if the decedent was a minor or had little historical earnings, the plan will use the average income of wage earners in the U.S. in 2013.
Compensation for Track A claims will be paid within 90 days after the claim is deemed “substantially complete.”
Track B, on the other hand, considers a broader range of case-specific information about the decedent and any extraordinary circumstances. The GM victim fund guidelines note that Track B claims “will require the submission of substantially more information than Track A.” It’s estimated that Track B compensation will be paid out 180 days after the claim is substantially complete.
For both Track A and Track B claims, the GM fund will also pay an additional:
- $1,000,000 for the death of the decedent, AND
- $300,000 for the surviving spouse, AND
- $300,000 for each surviving dependent of the decedent
Category One: Track A vs. Track B
For Category One, or catastrophic injuries, the difference between Track A and Track B are similar to Individual Death claims. Track A will use the same standard calculations as those used in death claims based on national data.
GM fund guidelines state that Track B claims will also require the formulation of a life-care plan and consider non-economic losses as well. Again, Track B claims will take into account a wider array of factors to determine what Feinberg determines is proper compensation.
Thomas J. Henry Represents GM Recall Victims
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.