Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Automotive Safety, has advised General Motors’ compensation lawyer Kenneth Feinberg to look at government regulators’ files for ignition switch-related accidents, the Automotive News reports. Ditlow reached out to Feinberg after feeling he was “processing claims too slowly,” as he oversees the automaker’s ignition switch compensation fund.
Yesterday, quarterly filings submitted to the NHTSA revealed 47 deaths and 614 injuries could potentially be linked to faulty ignition switches in GM vehicles. Feinberg and his team have so far received claims for 202 deaths and 1,851 injuries and have approved 32 death claims and 35 injury claims. Ditlow believes more ignition-switch related accidents may be hiding in regulator files, and encouraged Feinberg to begin to sift through the documents.
“I have read Ditlow’s letter and have taken it under advisement,” Feinberg told Automotive News by e-mail. “I want to make sure that the notice program and our outreach efforts reach the right people. We are considering Clarence’s suggestions.”
Feinberg disagreed with Ditlow’s suggestion that he’s handling the claims too slowly, saying they’ve pored over all submitted claims with the proper attached documents.
“We have processed every single claim that has been submitted to us with documentation,” Feinberg said. “All remaining claims –- in the hundreds -– have absolutely no documentation whatsoever.”
Feinberg said about 150 unverified fatality claims are currently under review and the amount of submitted compensation claims may rise before the submission deadline on December 31. Vehicle owners are being asked to send in all evidence, including photographs and their vehicle’s black-box data, as Feinberg and his team attempt to process more claims.