After the public and federal backlash regarding General Motors’ mishandling of the ignition-switch defect and recall, the US automaker set up a victims’ compensation trust fund.
Headed by outside attorney Ken Feinberg, the trust has been awarded around $400 million so far, but the carmaker made sure everyone knows there’s no cap on it. And by the looks of it, they’re set to exceed the initial allocated amount.
That’s because Feinberg – who headed similar funds for victims of the 9/11 terror attacks and 2010 BP oil spill – has discretionary authority on establishing who gets paid. The fund started accepting claims on August 1 and will continue to do so until the year’s end.
While the first update on the situation made by Feinberg’s office showed the death tally rose to 19, this week the total of accepted fatality claims has risen to 21. That’s turning now into a huge difference from the 13 deaths linked by GM to the 2.6 million cars recalled for the ignition switch change.
So far, 675 claims for deaths or serious injuries have been submitted – with 143 on behalf of fatality victims – and Feinberg’s team accepted 16 claims for serious injury caused by accidents related to the faulty ignition switch.