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Victim compensation fund set up by GM

General Motors has set up a fund to compensate victims of accidents caused by a faulty ignition switch in certain recalled cars. The company announced that this fund does not have a cap according to a June 30, 2014 USA Today article. That is, there is no monetary limit on what GM will pay out. The faulty ignition switch was a defect in millions of cars that caused cars to go from “running” mode to “accessory” mode. When this change happened, the airbags were disabled, power steering was disabled, and braking was affected, as well. This caused accidents, and when there was an accident, it sometimes lead to deaths and injuries because of the lack of the safety features.

Kenneth Feinberg, who is a compensation expert, is administering the fund. He has administered the funds that paid victims and their survivors in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, an oil spill, the Boston Marathon bombing and in a shooting case. Feinberg will operate somewhat separately from GM, meaning that he will have the final say in all claims and has been promised that he will receive all necessary funds from GM. People can apply for claims from August 1 to December 31. There is a website and a toll-free number for claimants. It is estimated that 90% of claims will be taken care of in this fund. People may choose to go to court, but if they take a settlement from Feinberg, then they waive their right to sue GM for compensation in court.

Feinberg is trying to keep the process simple. For example, he will not accept any claims if the airbags went off, he will not require extensive medical records for hospital stays—the claimant must show the that they received medical care within 48 hours of the accident and how long they were in the hospital, and Feinberg will not lower payments or deny claims because of a driver’s negligence—speeding or intoxicated driving.

The payments have been divided into three categories, and their amounts are in line with economic loss standards that the U.S. Bureau of Labor has published. This takes into account the victim’s age and income prior to the accident. Payment can be either for death, catastrophic injury or a lesser injury. A catastrophic injury is when someone has required a double amputation, become a paraplegic, or something similar and will require continuous care for life. Payments can range from a few thousand dollars for a simple hospital stay to millions of dollars for the death or catastrophic injury.

If you have been injured in an accident, then contact attorney Jayson Lutzky. He has over 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of his clients in New York. Mr. Lutzky handles personal injury, accident and medical malpractice cases. He offers free in office consultations. If you have been seriously injured, then consultations in your home or hospital are available. Call 718-329-9500 to set up a confidential, no obligation appointment. Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com for additional resources.

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