Lawyers hired to process the claims of those hurt or killed by General Motor’s faulty ignition switches have finished their work. Ninety per-cent of all the claims were rejected.
According to today’s Chicago Tribune, the fund set up by GM ultimately approved 399 of the 4,343 claims filed and rejected 3,944.
Last year, GM recalled 2.6 million small cars because the ignition switches could slip out of the run position, causing the cars to unexpectedly stall, disabling air bags and power steering and brakes.
At the time of the recall, GM acknowledged only 13 deaths tied to the problem. Now, the fund has made offers in 124 death cases and 275 injury crashes.
According to the fund’s deputy administrator, the claims that were rejected “couldn’t support any connection to the ignition switch”.
Some at GM knew about the defect as early as 2001, before the affected vehicles even went into production. The company claims upper management at GM did not learn of the problem until shortly before the recall in 2014.
But federal prosecutors are reportedly considering bringing criminal charges against GM. Those charges would be like the ones that resulted in Toyota paying $1.2 billion in 2014 to defer prosecution over Toyota’s sudden unintended acceleration issues.