GM needs to add in the cost of injured ignition defect survivors image

General Motors has been universally panned this year for the mishandling and late recall of a defective ignition switch – which so far has led to 13 deaths and countless injuries.

The automaker, on a widespread safety recall campaign that has already seen the tally exceed 20 million cars, including more than 6 million vehicles tied to the faulty ignition switch, needs to come out of the crisis soon – otherwise it would steeply undermine all the efforts made after coming out of bankruptcy.

Besides numerous investigations from federal authorities, congressional hearings, federal penalties and widespread criticism, the best move to move out of the turmoil for the No. 1 US automaker would be to get – finally – one thing right.

And that’s the victims compensation fund – headed by specialized attorney Kenneth R. Feinberg – which should present its plan to assess and enlist the claims of not just the fatality victims families, but also those who suffered injuries related to the defect. While 13 deaths have been so far acknowledged by GM to be linked to the safety flaw, the injuries victims have not been tallied so far.

And the reports coming from claims, lawsuits and accidents show a long and tragic list – that could include a paralyzed boy (with two relatives dead in his crash), a paraplegic young man, a disfigured 28-year-old woman, and we could go on.

Via New York Times