Over 600 victims involved in crashes with recalled General Motors cars have gone to federal court to seek compensation from the automaker, CNN reports.
According to CNN, the majority of the victims of this case, including 29 people who died, are not eligible to receive compensation from the fund that GM had established back in May, because their cars were not part of GM’s recalls.
GM has recalled more than 26 million other cars and trucks so far this year for a variety of problems, and most of those involve other problems with ignition switches.
Victims and their lawyers have raised concerns over whether the formula calculated by GM’s fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg is accurate or fair.
“This makes absolutely no sense that the fund is restricted to the first 2.6 million vehicles initially recalled for ignition switch issues,” said Robert Hilliard, a Corpus Christi, Texas personal injury attorney who has been one of the leading attorneys pressing GM on the recall crisis. “GM needs to step up and acknowledge the blood on its hands from all of these recalled cars.”
Starting tomorrow, victims may file a claim for compensation and still proceed with the lawsuit. If they decide to accept the final amount offered to them by the fund, they will have to drop out of the suit at that time. GM estimates that it will pay at least $400 million through the compensation fund, although there is no cap on amount it will pay.
All of the victims currently covered in Hilliard’s suit were involved in crashes that took place after the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. According to CNN, GM won protection in bankruptcy court against lawsuits for accidents that took place before it emerged from bankruptcy. While those pre-2009 crash victims are eligible for the compensation fund, GM has not waived its legal protection from lawsuits in those cases. Hilliard said he has more than 200 other victims involved in pre-2009 crashes who he will seek to add to the federal lawsuit.
Like all product manufacturers, automakers have a responsibility of ensuring that their cars are mechanically safe and do not pose a threat to drivers. When car companies fail at making sure their cars are safe, they are liable if and when an individual is injured because of their negligence. In an effort to reduce the cost of payouts, GM has established a confusing and unfair system of compensating victims, through its fund. Victims should know though, that seeking compensation through the fund is not their only option-they are eligible for filing a lawsuit by hiring an attorney.
At Altman & Altman LLP, our seasoned Products Liability Attorneys have nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience handling all types of defective products and products liability cases, and we have the skills to fight against large consumer products companies so that our clients achieve the highest financial compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one was a victim of the GM recalled ignition switch, or if you were injured as the result of a faulty product, call our office today to speak to an attorney to discuss your legal options and whether you might qualify for a products liability claim. All initial consultations are completely free of charge and of no obligation to you. Our team of lawyers is available around the clock to answer any and all questions you may have about your case.
Original article obtained from CNN.com