After facing hundreds of lawsuits for its faulty ignition switches, GM has agreed to a massive settlement. This settlement will address the majority of the existing personal injury and wrongful death claims against the company.
Almost 1400 personal injury and wrongful death cases will be settled under the to-be-determined terms. This comes after the huge public fallout, federal investigation, and congressional hearings GM dealt with in response to the faulty ignition switch scandal that rocked the company in 2014. In addition to the $547 million settlement, GM will also pay a $900 million fine to the federal government in exchange for avoiding prosecution for related fraud charges.
The ignition scandal began because of the hard work of one family and their lawyer in the face of the tragedy of losing a daughter to a car accident. The accident was caused by a faulty ignition switch in her GM car. It turned out that GM knew and concealed information about the faulty ignition switch. 31 deaths were revealed in the immediate aftermath causing the company to file for bankruptcy. Furthermore, GM recalled more than 30 million cars and announced more than 80 recalls in one year.
Since the revelation of the extent of the cover up, it is believed that over 500 documented deaths were caused by the defective cars. However, even with the huge settlement, many of these deaths and personal injury claims will not be settled. This is because there is a separate class-action case moving forward and there are cases that were filed before the company declared bankruptcy. The recent settlement agreement covers only a specific set of cases, both wrongful death and personal injury. However, there are talks that a victim compensation fund will be established by GM for victims of the ignition switch cars. The fund, as like many other compensations funds, will allow victims to file claims and receive a pre-determined amount of money based on the severity of their injuries and when/how the injuries occurred.
This does not mean, however, that GM is done settling and that potential claims cannot be put forth. The company is still dealing with hundreds of cases in both federal and state court for the faulty parts. If you believe you are a victim of a GM faulty ignition switch, it is important you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today.