Two families of victims killed in General Motors cars with defective ignition switches have dropped their respective lawsuits and have a settlement from the compensation program set up to address the issue.
A lawyer for the families, Robert Hilliard, told Automotive News that the compensation program had extended offers to the families of Amy Rademaker and Natasha Weigel, two teenagers who were killed in a 2006 crash with a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. These are the first families to accept an offer since the program was instituted, which is being headed by Kenneth Feinberg.
Said Hillard, “Of the offers made so far, most of my clients feel that they are reasonable and in the ballpark of serious consideration.”
According to Feinberg’s office, the compensation program has attracted 850 claims as of September 24. Of the 150 death claims, 21 have been deemed eligible as of a week ago. Fifteen cash offers currently have been made to eligible claimants, with 12 of them being Hilliard’s clients; if they accept, they will be awarded at least $1 million with certain factors (i.e. whether the deceased had any dependents, for example) adding to the compensation, of which GM has set aside $400 million. Upon accepting compensation, families must waive the right to sue GM.
GM spokesman Dave Roman says the company would not comment on individual claims but added, “Our goal has been to reach every eligible person impacted.