cloudy
Friday May 27th, 2016 12:09PM

GM crash victim payment plan won't have limit

By The Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) -- When Kenneth Feinberg announces the terms of General Motors' plan to pay victims of crashes caused by bad ignition switches, he'll have an open wallet.<br /> <br /> Feinberg, the country's most well-known compensation expert, is scheduled to reveal the terms Monday, and GM CEO Mary Barra has said there will be no cap on payments.<br /> <br /> Also, GM won't have any say in Feinberg's awards, she told a U.S. House subcommittee during a hearing earlier this month.<br /> <br /> "He will have complete independence," Barra said under questioning. "General Motors wants to reach with this compensation program everyone who lost a loved one due to this issue, or who suffered serious physical injury."<br /> <br /> The company says the faulty switches are responsible for at least 54 crashes and more than 13 deaths, but lawyers and lawmakers say the death toll is closer to 100, with hundreds of injuries. That would send GM's payments into the millions, if not billions of dollars. GM was sitting on a $27 billion cash stockpile as of March 31. So far, it has announced or taken charges of $2 billion for recall expenses.<br /> <br /> Feinberg, who also administered the government's $7 billion fund for the 2,977 victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, is likely to follow a similar plan in the GM case, with detailed formulas setting payments based on severity of injuries and age. The average award to the 2,880 families who filed death claims from Sept. 11 was $2.1 million. The fund also paid an average of about $400,000 each for the 2,680 accepted claims of injuries; the smallest injury award was $500, the largest $8.6 million.<br /> <br /> The Sept. 11 fund was set up to protect financially troubled airlines from thousands of potential lawsuits. It was a success, limiting the number of lawsuits to about 80.<br /> <br /> The GM compensation likely will be limited to victims of crashes of older small cars, of which GM recalled 2.6 million earlier this year because the switches can cause engines to stall, shutting off power steering and brakes. That can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and also disables the air bags. The cars include the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, both of which are no longer made.<br /> <br /> Feinberg could use air bag activation to decide if people are paid. If the air bags deployed in an accident, that means they were not disabled by the switches, so the switches were not at fault.<br /> <br /> GM has said Feinberg would start taking claims Aug. 1. Barra said she did not know how much the company would have to spend to settle the claims.<br /> <br /> To get a payment, victims would have to agree not to sue GM. The company is vulnerable to legal claims because it has admitted knowing about the switch problem for more than a decade, yet it didn't recall the cars until this year.<br /> <br /> Feinberg is scheduled to hold a news conference in Washington on Monday to release details "including eligibility, scope, rules for the program, and timing of submitting claims," a Feinberg spokeswoman said in an email. The program also will launch a website on Monday.<br /> <br /> The spokeswoman, Amy Weiss, would not comment on the program before the news conference. GM has deferred comment to Feinberg.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 1 week ago )