Families of people who have been injured or killed as a result of General Motors Co.’s ignition switch defect have an extra month to file a compensation claim the GM compensation fund. According to Wall Street Journal, pressure from safety advocates, politicians and attorneys prompted the fund’s compensation expert to extend the deadline.
Pressure intensified amidst recent reports of a woman who died in a 2003 Saturn Ion crash; her family says they were never informed of the faulty switch.
GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles over the defect, which can cause the vehicle to switch out of the “run” position when there is too much weight on the keys or a jarring event, such as bump in the road, occurs. The automaker is facing investigations and intense criticism after evidence showed they were aware of the defect a decade before the recall. In response to the backlash, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra announced the creation of the fund.
Originally, the claim period was from August 1st to December 31st. The deadline has now been extended to January 31st. “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,” the expert stated.
WSJ reports that 33 legitimate death claims have been confirmed by the compensation fund as of last Friday. The fund’s expert is the only authority on the eligibility of claims and the amount to be compensated. There is no cap on the payouts and in the case of death claims an additional $1 million is added to the total amount. GM has allocated $400 million for the fund and could retrieve an additional $200 million if necessary.