The deadline to file a claim for compensation from General Motors – regarding the potentially fatal, faulty ignition switch used in some GM vehicles – has passed. The dust is still settling, and the automaker is still undergoing a criminal investigation, but Kenneth Feinberg spoke to CNBC today to give us all an idea of what to expect in the following weeks.
Feinberg is the attorney retained by the automaker to lead its victim compensation efforts relating to the defective part.
As should be expected, the final days through which General Motors was accepting claims saw a rush of last-minute filings; 600 were submitted within the last 10 days alone. That brings the tally up to 4,180 total.
But, as Feinberg told CNBC, many of those were quite easily dismissible. “Of the 4,180 claims that we’ve received, we’ve already noted that about 3,000 of them are either ineligible, deficient, they send in a photo or a police report that doesn’t say very much, or nothing,” he told the station. “About 1,500 claims have no documentation at all.”
He continued: “On the other hand, we have authorized payment for 51 deaths and about another 70 or so physical injuries.” And with about 600 new claims still waiting to be processed, Feinberg expects that number to increase.
That said, he admits that this case is particularly trying compared to other, similar cases that he’s worked (9/11, BP) simply because of the timeline. “Here we’re going back to the early 2000s, and it’s very difficult and complex to reconstruct accidents with circumstantial evidence after so much time has expired,” said the attorney.
As for whether some families might be holding out for revelations from GM’s pending legal investigations before taking their cases to court, Mr. Feinberg was less able to comment.
But while victims and their families can no longer submit claims to the compensation fund, the work for General Motors and Mr. Feinberg is still ongoing. “This will go well into the spring, maybe even longer before we clear out all of the inventory.”