On August 1, 2014 General Motors started an informal claims procedure to settle accidental injury/death cases caused by their faulty ignition switches. Some accidents were single vehicle and sometimes more than one car was involved. The claim procedure will expire 12/31/14. This is a very short time, less than 6 months. It does not prevent anyone from suing if they want to go to court instead.
GM has known since at least 2006 that its ignition switches could cause death and serious injuries. GM hid the dangers from the government and consumers. A lawyer practicing in a small one man law firm in Georgia discovered the cover up while in the middle of a suit against GM. The coverup cost GM $35,000,000 in fines, the maximum allowed by law.
Here are a few basics about the Settlement, which will be administered by the same man who took care of the 911 claims and BP claims: What is needed to make a claim?
- According to GM’s “protocol” only persons (or the Executors of persons killed) who were hurt in a car accident by one of their cars, either as a driver, passenger, or the driver or passenger of another car hit by the faulty vehicle can make a claim. If there is no estate open now, then one will have to be opened up to make the claim. In Florida that costs $400.
- cars causing the accident must be either a Chevy Cobalt (2005-2010); Chevy HHR (2006-2011); Daewoo G2X (2007-2009); Opel/Vauxhall GT (2007-2010); Pontiac G4 (2005-2006); Pontiac G5 (2007-2010); Pontiac Solstice (2006-2010); Saturn Ion (2003-2007); Saturn sky (2007-2010)
- the accident must happen before 12/31/14 and must not involve an ignition switch that had not been fixed before the accident
- airbags did not go off during the accident
- claims must be for death or very serious bodily injuries such as brain damages, paralysis, pervasive burns, etc. All claims must be documented with medical records
- Substantial $1,000,000 plus settlements will be paid if the claim caused death
- Injury claims will be compensated varying amounts depending on the length of hospital stays
- There is no charge to file a claim
- If you already filed a claim, supporting documents will be automatically transferred to GM’s Claims Resolution Facility. If you are in suit and accept the settlement offered by GM you will have to dismiss (drop) your case.
- People who file claims will be able to track their claims. They will be given a claim number to use.
- If you hire a lawyer, all communications will be handled between your lawyer and Facility.
- The negligence or fault of the driver is not a defense to GM.
Claimants must also submit documentation like accident reports, death certificates, medical records, use the GM claim form etc. Claim Forms are available on the Internet, and can be submitted via US Mail or via the internet. Your lawyer can take care of that.
Please feel free to give me a call to discuss any questions you may have about making a claim. If you or a loved one was hurt or killed by a GM car listed above it may be the best phone call you ever made.