The news regarding the deaths and injuries caused by defective ignition switches in GM vehicles over a 13-year period keeps getting more and more troubling.
A host of injuries and deaths caused by these faulty ignition switches was covered up by GM for years, and now the chickens are finally coming home to roost. The settlement fund that GM has set up to settle the issue and compensate victims has now confirmed 64 deaths and 108 injuries from the 4,343 claims that have been submitted since the fund opened last August.
This unfortunate defect and coverup has led to an estimated compensation of $400-$600 million from GM, which pales in comparison to the more than $10 billion that the many victims are collectively seeking in a wide range of lawsuits.
In addition to the claims which have already been investigated, there are another 1571 claims awaiting review, which includes another alleged 1415 injuries and 156 deaths. There are still more claims that have yet to put together appropriate documentation as well, so another 781 claims may eventually be in play as well.
The total amount of lawsuits GM currently faces for the issue is a staggering 178, comprising both class-action and individual suits. It remains to be seen whether all of the cases will be allowed to proceed, as a federal bankruptcy judge considers all of the relevant factors in the case.
However, one thing remains clear – the defects and coverups are already doing a great deal of damage to a company that finally seemed to be on the up-and-up in recent years, following their bankruptcy declaration earlier in the decade. It’s not all about money, either, as the Department of Justice is even investigating the merits of filing criminal charges against GM for knowingly concealing the defects for years.
This entire saga will all play out in court over the next several months and possibly even years, but hopefully, when all is said and done, this unfortunate case will make cars safer and allow more transparency into automotive safety going forward.