General Motors – famous now for the long overdue recall of 2.6 million cars equipped with defective ignition switches – will move to compensate at least 19 death victims through its newly established compensation fund.
The No. 1 US automaker has moved to rethink entirely its safety standards after the public panning – followed by federal probes and numerous billion-dollar lawsuits – for the concealing of a potential life-threatening hazard for at least a decade. Although ignition switch related recalls (some with injuries and even deaths) were also made throughout this year, GM has so far decided to only compensate through its victims fund those claiming injuries or loss of lives linked to the initial 2.6 million cars recall.
In relation to that recall, the company also admitted that its evidence pointed out to just 13 fatalities – a number disputed by the public and federal authorities. It now turns the latter were right, as the fund’s administrator – outside attorney Ken Feinberg – has decided that so far 19 deaths can be attributed to the recall. The number could easily rise, as the team is still reviewing the cases.
“The standard that GM used for their determination was an engineering standard,” commented Camille Biros, the victims’ fund deputy administrator. “We have a much more liberal standard that we are applying.”
The administrators refused to disclose names of the victims being compensated and also added that Feinberg’s office has not settled on the amount to be paid by General Motors to the families.