The fund that General Motors set up to give recourse to those affected by vehicles with defective ignition switches started on August 1. About 2.6 million owners will have five months to complete a claim.
Drivers, passengers, and pedestrians hurt by one of the defective GM vehicles can file a claim through Dec. 31; the estate of people killed by the defective vehicles can also file a claim. GM has already earmarked $400 million to handle the claims but could go higher because there is no cap.
The vehicles covered by the fund include the following cars:
- Chevrolet Cobalt
- Chevrolet HHR
- Pontiac G5
- Pontiac Solstice
- Saturn Ion
- Saturn Sky
The ignition switch complaint involved switches that could slip from “run” to “accessory,” especially with heavy keychains with numerous attachments. If accidentally switched to “accessory” while driving, the engine could stall, causing power steering to shut off and making the vehicle harder to control, not to mention the airbags would be disabled. GM has traced 13 deaths to the defective switches, which had been known within GM but not recalled; however, some members of Congress investigating the issue feel the death toll is closer to 100 people.
The Detroit News reports that fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg had already received around 40 claims by the end of Friday.