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GM Releases Final Figures from Ignition Switch Compensation Fund

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General Motors (GM) has announced the final figures from its ignition switch compensation fund. Set up in August 2014, the fund was created to evaluate claims of personal injury arising from GM’s faulty ignition switches, which could turn to the “off” position without notice, robbing brakes and air bags of power.

The fund stopped taking claims at the end of January 2015, and the ensuing months were used for evaluation. According to Reuters, the final figures are in. GM had set aside $600 million in the beginning, and it turns out that they ended up awarding $594.5 million in total, approving 399 death and injury claims.

GM Ignition Fund Finalizes Payments to Plaintiffs

Though GM faced other ignition switch lawsuits, over 4,000 claims were processed through the company’s settlement fund. They hired compensation expert Ken Feinberg to oversee the fund’s efforts, and created guidelines for approved claims. The fund covered model 2003 through 2011 vehicles, and did not reject claims based on the company’s June 2009 bankruptcy, or if the victims bore partial responsibility.

Nearly all of the awards have been accepted by the claimants, including 124 death claims. Awards were also offered to 18 plaintiffs who claimed serious injuries, including brain damage, paralysis, and loss of limbs. Sixteen of those claimants have accepted, and one rejected. One remains outstanding. By accepting the money, the plaintiffs agree that they will not file any additional lawsuits against GM in the future.

The rest of the plaintiffs offered awards claimed to have suffered injuries requiring hospital or outpatient treatment within 24 hours. GM accepted 257 of those claims. A total of 221 accepted the awards, and 36 rejected them.

Though the fund is now over, GM still faces additional litigation. Federal GM ignition switch lawsuits were consolidated in the Southern District of New York in June 2014, and hundreds of injury and death lawsuits are still pending there. The first bellwether trials are expected to begin in January 2016.

According to the Detroit Free Press, GM has also settled about 1,380 civil lawsuits concerning vehicle recalls, some of which involved the ignition switch issue.

GM Pays Billions to Settle Ignition Switch Claims

In September 2015, after an investigation by the Justice Department, GM agreed to pay $900 million because of its failure to appropriately respond to the ignition switch problem. Federal prosecutors charged the company for concealing the deadly safety defect from the public and from regulators, along with other charges.

Adding this to the other settlement offers, including one for a shareholder lawsuit, and the $35 million fine they paid to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2014, GM has paid more than $2 billion in fines and settlements at this point.

GM recalled about 2.6 million vehicles in the U.S. due to the ignition switch defect.