Early Monday morning, General Motors announced their decision to compensate victims of car accidents in GM's small cars that were recalled so long as they can prove the cars ignition switches caused the crash.
Drivers, passengers, pedestrians and people in other vehicles that were involved in crashes with a GM vehicle who suffered serious injuries or family members who lost a loved one in a crash may be eligible to file a claim with the company.
The claims process will go directly through Kenneth Feinberg, a leading compensation expert, who will ultimately decide if and how much compensation an individual is entitled to.
Victims can begin applying for compensation on Aug. 1 and claims may be filed through Dec. 31. According to Feinberg, the claims will be processed between 90 and 180 days. There is no cap and GM has agreed to pay whatever the Administrator deems appropriate to each individual case.
Only those who were hurt in crashes caused by the small-car ignition switches are eligible to file a claim, therefore, the program excludes claims for the millions of other vehicles recalled this year. Feinberg will not consider whether those injured in crashes contributed to the cause by speeding, being under the influence or other reckless behavior.
The compensation program will recognize three different categories of eligible claims:
- Individual death claims
- Claims involving serious physical injuries (paralysis, permanent brain damage, etc.)
- Claims involving less serious physical injuries, but that involved hospitalization or immediate outpatient medical treatment
There is no fee associated with filing a claim and a claimants information will be kept confidential.
Anyone who files a claim will have to prove the switches caused the crash. Most importantly, once their claim is settled, they give up their right to sue the company. However, victims who wish to file a lawsuit rather than go through the compensation system set up by GM may do so.
To learn more about the compensation claims forms, view the formal statement from Feinberg here.
Stay up to date with other GM recalls on our GM recall investigation timeline page.