By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The safety crisis at General Motors continues to grow. The automaker announced today that it’s recalling at least 7.6 million more vehicles dating back to 1997 to fix faulty ignition switches. This comes on the same day that the man in charge of compensating GM crash victims outlined his plans. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has the details.
Kenneth Feinberg is the attorney hired by GM to run the company’s victim compensation program. He says, “Money is a pretty poor substitute for loss. You could give people 20, 30, 50 million. It’s a poor substitute.”
Possible pay-outs involving deaths and injuries related to faulty ignition switches will depend on a victim’s age, employment and family size. According to Feinberg, “a 25 year-old, married, two children, earning $46,400 a year? Four million dollars.”
Only those injured or killed because of the faulty switches are eligible and the claim must prove that the switch caused the crash, in a car where the airbag did not deploy.
Laura Christian lost her daughter Amber in a crash involving a faulty ignition switch. She joined other victim’s families at the news conference. She says, “It’s quite frankly really difficult to hear Amber being reduced to a dollar amount.”
GM’s CEO Mary Barra addressed the families in a statement, which in part said, “We are taking responsibility for what has happened by treating them with compassion, decency and fairness.”
There is no cap on the amount of money GM will spend involving the faulty ignition switch settlements and victims will not be able to sue GM once a claim is settled. Claims can be filed beginning August 1st and Feinberg, not GM, will decide how much each victim will be compensated.
If proven that a GM car had an ignition problem that resulted in a crash, the driver of the car, as well as its passengers, pedestrians and even those in a second vehicle involved in the crash, can all file claims.
For a list of vehicles recalled today by General Motors, click here.