Kenneth Feinberg, compensation expert hired by General Motors, extended by one month the time frame to file death and injury claims related to the companys faulty ignition switches.
Originally, the program, which started August 1, was supposed to end December 31. However, under heavy pressure from families, politicians, safety advocates and lawyers, the deadline was moved to January 31, 2015. Mr. Feinberg, a D.C. attorney, said the decision was implemented “out of an abundance of caution.”
Last week it become known that the family of Jean Averill, a death victim in a Saturn Ion car crash 2003, were never notified that the accepting was related to GMs faulty ignition switch.
The notice of the extension has been overall successful, said Mr. Feinberg, and pointed out that around 4.5 million prior or current owners of eligible vehicles have already been informed.
Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said in a letter to Mr. Feinberg that he should put an extra efforts in the search for people injured by an accident caused by the faulty ignition switches, by going through the car-safety databases looking for additional collisions.
GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility program has already received 1 851 injury claims, including 33 deaths. The program was launched after GM recalled nearly 2.6 million vehicles with faulty switches. The problem comes from the fact that the keys cant withstand too much weight on them, causing them to switch from “run” to “accessory”, which cuts the electricity from the steering wheel and the air bags.
Mr. Fainberg, who is solely responsible for determining the eligible claims and the size of the uncapped payouts, said in a written statement: “Because of our determination to provide comprehensive notice and give each claimant an opportunity to file a claim in a timely manner, we have decided to extend the filing deadline.”
GM, who already set aside $400 million to cover any compensations, said it agreed with the decision and it could use an additional $200 million if needed.
General Motors Co gained 0.44% on Friday and closed at $31.79 in New York, marking a one-year decrease of 17.43%. The company is valued at $51.08 billion. According to the Financial Times, the 15 analysts offering 12-month price targets for General Motors Ci have a median target of $41.00, with a high estimate of $50.00 and a low estimate of $27.00. The median estimate represents a 28.97% increase from the last price of $31.79.