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Early GM Settlement Talks Suggest Victims Would be Treated Equally

Tina Robinson2 years ago

Attorneys for General Motors and ignition switch recall plaintiffs met on Friday to discuss claims stemming from February’s massive GM recall. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, early indications are that GM would treat victims equally, regardless of when the accident took place.

GM Compensation Fund Discussions

According to plaintiffs’ lawyer Bob Hilliard, the proposed compensation plan would treat all victims the same regardless of whether their accident happened before or after GM filed bankruptcy in July 2009. Part of the company’s bankruptcy settlement shielded GM from legal responsibility for accidents that occurred pre-bankruptcy. The announcement is good news for victims and their families who have filed claims for personal injury and wrongful death against the automaker that occurred as a result of the faulty ignition switches.

Hilliard, alongside leading GM recall attorney Thomas J. Henry, met with attorney Kenneth Feinberg in Washington D.C. to discuss claims and possible compensation for the 53 families represented by the attorneys. In an interview, Hilliard said he had been invited by Mr. Feinberg to the meeting and Mr. Feinberg is “working to develop a protocol over the next 30 days.”

GM declined to comment specifically about any possible settlements.

Since February, about 2.6 million vehicles have been recalled by GM to replace defective ignition switches. The deadly switches can easily be switched into the “accessory” or “off” position during normal vehicle operation. The resulting sudden loss of engine power has been linked by GM to 13 deaths. However, some estimates suggest that death toll is much higher.

GM Under Investigation

GM is currently facing multiple investigations and inquiries into events surrounding the ignition switch recall into why it took the automaker over a decade to recall the dangerous vehicles even though it was aware of issues as early as 2004. Documents released as part of Congressional hearings suggest the company opted not to implement a design change to the flawed part because of cost concerns. 

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