The settlement, which must still be approved by U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman, will allow GM to put ignition switch-related legal proceedings behind it, resolving the final cases left outstanding over the issue.
The $120 million will be paid out to drivers and/or crash survivors as part of the settlement, while an additional $34.5 million will be paid to plaintiffs lawyers. According to Reuters, about $50 million will be paid from a trust that was set up in the wake of the automaker’s bankruptcy in 2009 and the remaining $70 million will come directly from GM’s coffers.
“GM believes the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate,” the automaker said in a statement. “GM took the lessons it learned from the ignition switch recalls and has transformed its culture to focus on customer safety.”
The courts had previously ruled that GM would not be held liable for any ignition switch cases involving vehicles built before 2009, but that ruling was later overturned, leading to the approval of these pre-bankruptcy claims.
Judge Furman has overseen more than 3,000 personal injury or death claims related to the GM ignition switch scandal since 2014. Some claims were settled and resolved in court, while others were dismissed.
GM has recalled more than 2.6 million vehicles over the ignition switch scandal. Affected vehicles were manufactured with an ignition switch that could be easily knocked into the ‘off’ position by the driver’s knee or leg. If this happens, the vehicle would turn off completely while still in motion, disabling the controls and safety features like the airbags. The automaker covered up the defect for 13 years, even going so far as to redesign it without changing the part number so as to not raise suspicion.
Vehicles affected by the ignition switch recall include the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5 and 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, among more.