As of last week, the number of deaths eligible for family compensation due to General Motors’ ignition switch defect has reached 23, according to Ken Feinberg, who is running the independent compensation fund. Feinberg, who ran the victim compensation funds for 9/11 victims, as well as those affected by the BP oil spill stated he will accepting further applications until the year’s end.
Compensation has begun dispersing for those families who have accepted offers, while other claims are still being evaluated or do not not have enough records to prove their case. Families of drivers who died due to the defect are being awarded at least $1 million. Parents of Trenton Buzard agreed to accept a settlement five years after their son became paralyzed after his great-grandmother’s 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt collided with an oncoming vehicle.
Lawyer Bob Hillard, who is representing the families of 90 people killed in one of the defective vehicles, commented on the Buzard settlement stating to the Detroit Free Press,”I am satisifed this little boy and his parents will no longer have to worry about being able to afford what it will take to care for him. Even after Trenton is grown he will be able to count on top-notch care and quality of life purchases to assist him in being independent and mobile.”
70 applications have also been received for claims of serious injury while operating a defective vehicle, and 644 for minor injuries. So far, Feinberg has certified four serious injuries and twelve minor injuries for compensation. GM initially quoted the death toll at 13, but the number is expected to rise as more victims come forward.
The faulty switches were installed in Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions, Pontiac G5s, Chevrolet HHRs, Pontiac Solstices and Saturn Skys, mostly from the 2003-07 model years. To date 2.6 million vehicles have been recalled to fix the defective ignition switches.