Although claims linked to accidents, deaths and injuries caused by the 2.6 million cars defective ignition switch recall, will only be accepted from August 1, people already told their stories to Kenneth R. Feinberg, the manager of the fund.
After the huge scandal around the decade long mishandling of the deadly defective ignition switch – linked to 54 crashes and 13 deaths (and another 3 fatalities on the latest over 8 million cars recall), General Motors decided to establish a victims compensation fund – led by experienced attorney Feinberg, a man implicated in the funds set up after the September 11 terrorist attacks and the 2010 BP oil spill.
Feinberg said he already heard “heart-wrenching stories” from many people, including some “who suffered horribly,” adding the fund was set up for the people, not to punish GM. “At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is, did you get the money out fast and did people sign up,” he said.
There are those who see the fund as a means to limit damages by GM though, as the company – which detailed the program at the end of June – pushed for a claims window between August 1 and December 31, limited the claims specifically to the 2.6 million cars recall – and within that only to accidents that had airbag non deployment.