The families of Amy Rademaker, 15, and Natasha Weigel, 18, have agreed to take the wrongful death settlement offers made to them by General Motors from its victim compensation fund. Weigel and Rademaker were killed following a 2006 car crash involving a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt that appears to have been caused by an ignition defect. The air bags did not deploy. Megan Ungars-Kerns, who was 17 at the time and the one driving the vehicle, sustained serious brain damage.
GM established its victim compensation fund for the injury victims and the families of people killed in motor vehicle crashes caused by its faulty ignition switches. Some 2.6 million autos have been recalled because of the safety issue.
How much GM will decide to offer to each party will depend on the victim’s age, earning potential, family duties, and medical costs. According to The Washington Post, one 10-year-old who became a paraplegic in a GM car crash involving ignition problems was offered $7.8 million.
The automaker has admitted that its officials knew about the ignition switch problems for over 10 years before the company started making recalls in early 2014. The defect can cause a vehicle to shut off, hinder air bag deployment, and negatively impact the brakes and steering.
According to the latest figures, at least 24 people have died in ignition defect-related collisions involving a GM vehicle. To date, the victim compensation fund has received applications from 165 families seeking payment. Ken Feinberg, the GM victim fund chief, said that he has gotten applications from 79 people claiming serious injuries and 886 others claiming minor injuries.
Meantime, GM continues to recall autos over other safety problems. This weekend, it recalled another 57,182 autos, including 46,873 Pontiac G8s (’08 and ’09 models) and Chevrolet Caprices used as police cars between 2011 and 2013. If an ignition key is struck by accident it could shift from the “run” position. This could shut off the air bags and engine.
The car manufacturer also recalled 10,005 Cadillac CTS-Vs and STS-V’s from different model years due to possible fuel pump module overheating, as well as 304 Chevrolet Sonics because of a loose electrical connection that could affect the steering column. In total, GM has already issued over 70 recalls affecting nearly 30 million autos this year. Other recent GM recalls include 430,550 Cadillac SRX and Saab 9-4X SUVs, due to worn threads and loose joints involving the rear toe link assembly, and 93,834 Chevrolet Spark cars because of the risk of the hood opening on a moving vehicle.
Our Boston, MA auto products liability lawyers represent victims and their families with claims against the world’s largest automakers. You do not want to settle without speaking to an experienced GM ignition switch attorney about your case. Contact Altman & Altman LLP today.
GM recalls now total almost 30 million cars in North America, Fox Sports, October 6, 2014
GM’s Latest Recall Covers Over 57,000 Cars, The Daily Finance, October 6, 2014
Attorney: Two clients agree to GM fund offer, The Detroit News, September 25, 2014
More Blog Posts:
General Motors Recalls Another 800,000 Cars, Cites More Deaths Related to Faulty Ignition Switches, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, July 24, 2014
Judge Rejects GM’s Bid to Stop Faulty Ignition Switch Lawsuit That Spurred Recalls, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 26, 2014
Brookline Police Gauge Interest in New Bicycle Law, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2014