MONTGOMERY, ALA. (October 6, 2014) – The latest report released by General Motors (GM) victim compensation fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg lists 24 eligible death claims. There has been a total of 165 death claims submitted since the fund began accepting claims on Aug. 1. There were 12 new death claims submitted to the fund since the fund’s last report, issued Sept. 26. A total of 1,130 claims, including those for deaths and injuries, have been submitted for consideration. The numbers break down as follows:
|Report Date||Total Claims Submitted||Total Claims Eligible|
|Sept. 26||867 (153 death, 714 injury)||39 (23 death, 16 injury)|
|Oct. 3||1,130 (165 death, 965 injury)||40 (24 death, 16 injury)|
The largest increase in the number of claims submitted is for injuries, with a total of 251 new claims submitted in both Category One and Category Two. Category One covers claims for serious injuries, which may include quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns. Category Two covers claims for less serious injuries. So far 16 injury claims have been determined eligible.
“Our firm and the Cooper firm have been generally satisfied with the progress made relating to the claims we have filed with the Fund,” said Jere Beasley, Principal & Founder of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. “Thus far our firm has had awards made in a total of seven claims, consisting of two death claims, two Category One claims and three Category Two claims. Our firm filed eight more claims on Oct. 3 and expect to file 50 more fairly soon. The Cooper firm has filed a total of 20 claims so far, with 10 more claims to be filed with the Fund fairly soon. The Cooper Firm has so far secured three awards, one for a death claim and two for Category One claims. Based on early results, I would give Ken Feinberg and his staff a passing grade on the handling of our claims.”
GM’s defective ignition switch has prompted the recall of more than 17 million vehicles to date. Drivers, passengers and pedestrians killed or injured by one of the defective GM vehicles may file a claim with the fund through Dec. 31.
Beasley Allen and The Cooper Firm in Marietta, Ga., selected representative claims to be filed with the fund, claims that would meet the eligibility criteria. We expect each to be paid. GM has earmarked $400 million in its budget to cover potential payments through the fund, and has told investors the total payout may be even higher. There is no cap on the fund.
The fund covers a range of GM vehicles including the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. However, the fund does not cover many vehicles affected by similar ignition switch problems. It remains to be seen if GM will address issues stemming from those vehicles. GM has recalled more than 17 million vehicles related to the ignition switch problem that can leave a vehicle without power and the driver unable to control the vehicle in sudden and dangerous situations. Investigations have revealed GM knew about the ignition switch defect for 11 years before disclosing it to safety regulators and the public.