GM ignition-switch death toll could grow well beyond the 19 tallied
The Detroit Bureau reports:
“Despite the recall of more nearly 30 million vehicles in the U.S. this year, concerns about subprime lending and a lackluster showing in the stock market, Standard & Poors has given GM a much-needed endorsement, raising the company’s credit rating to investment grade.
The announcement comes at a welcome moment for GM, which has watched its share price slide 20% since the beginning of the year, even while the S&P 500 has gained 20%. It also coincides with a generally positive cover story in Time magazine featuring CEO Mary Barra.”
The GM Feinberg plan’s first statistics are available (attached) and show: * 125 Deceased Claims Received, but only 19 determined to be eligible to date.
NY Times reports: “Her accident, on March 18, is the first known fatality to have occurred after G.M. disclosed the defect and began recalling 2.6 million cars.”…. “During months of outcry over G.M.’s handling of the switch issue, as investigations and lawsuits mounted, the company has fought any effort to get the recalled cars off the road until they are repaired.”
And I recommend reading the public comments too.
We are left to wonder how many more tragedies will be allowed to occur before NHTSA and GM act to adopt “Park It Now” that was recommended by Sen. Blumenthal and many others.
Reuters reports “Under the program’s protocol, eligible death claims will receive at least $1 million, which could increase depending on factors such as whether the deceased had any dependants. GM has set aside $400 million to cover the compensation costs, and said the total could rise by another $200 million.” Seehttp://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/29/us-gm-recall-compensation-idUSKCN0HO1F220140929
NY Times reports:
In February, the initial recall of hundreds of thousands of cars with defective ignition switches was treated in such a routine manner at the board’s monthly meeting that the board’s chairman, Theodore M. Solso, said he had only a vague recollection of the details.
“I can’t remember the specifics,” Mr. Solso said in an interview. “It was a large recall. There were probably cost estimates.”
Looks like the American people will finally learn more. Hopefully before another person dies of preventable GM crash injuries.
Automotive News reports on first payouts.
“Dozens of new claims have poured in each day, with the tally rising from 445 on Sept. 12 to more than 850 now. Fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg and his staff are just beginning to review them. Early results suggest that GM will pay for many more deaths and injuries than it had acknowledged, but many claims are likely to be rejected unless families can provide more evidence.
“A significant number of these submitted claims are completely ‘undocumented’ or ‘deficiently’ documented and cannot be processed until required supporting docs are submitted,” Camille Biros, Feinberg’s deputy, told Automotive News in an email.”….
“Two of the first payment offers went to the families of Amy Rademaker and Natasha Weigel, who died in October 2006 when a Chevrolet Cobalt driven by a friend left a rural Wisconsin road and crashed into some trees.
Weigel’s stepfather, Ken Rimer, said he and his wife met with Feinberg several weeks ago and submitted a claim under what’s known as “Track B,” a less streamlined alternative that allows for individual negotiations and consideration of extenuating circumstances. Their offer includes the fund’s $1 million per-death minimum plus an additional amount Rimer and his lawyer, Bob Hilliard, didn’t disclose.
“We kind of figured this was our best avenue,” Rimer said, explaining why they chose to take Feinberg’s offer and drop the lawsuit. “It simplifies things. Anytime you go in front of a judge and jury, you don’t know what’s going to happen.” See
Latest GM statistics show 153 claims made for crash deaths and 23 crash deaths deemed eligible for GM payout offers to be made. Data as of September 26, 2014 are publicly available at