Consumers Get More Direction on Applying for GM Recall Compensation Fund | Edmunds

Consumers Get More Direction on Applying for GM Recall Compensation Fund


Just the Facts:
  • Consumers received more concrete instructions on filing a claim for the GM recall compensation fund linked to vehicles that have been recalled for defective ignition switches during a Senate hearing on Thursday.
  • Administrator Kenneth Feinberg told a Senate subcommittee that he wants "to discourage cases where an airbag may have deployed" in crashes linked to defective ignition switches.
  • Feinberg also said that claimants who are having trouble with documentation will be given assistance.

WASHINGTON Consumers received more concrete instructions on filing a claim for the GM recall compensation fund linked to vehicles that have been recalled for defective ignition switches during a Senate hearing on Thursday.

The fund will begin accepting claims on August 1. Claims may be submitted through December 31, 2014. GM this year recalled 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars for defective ignition switches that could lead to their airbags not deploying in a crash.

The Senate subcommittee on consumer protection held a hearing that looked at GM's response to defective ignition switches in small cars that have been linked to 13 deaths.

Administrator Kenneth Feinberg told the subcommittee that he wants "to discourage cases where an airbag may have deployed" in crashes linked to defective ignition switches.

"A victim is not eligible if the power was on and the airbag did deploy," Feinberg said. "Airbag deployment renders the claim ineligible."

He added: "What I want to avoid with this program is being inundated with thousands of claims where the airbag deployed."

Airbag non-deployment in the affected vehicles makes the claim eligible.

Feinberg also said that claimants who are having trouble with documentation will be given assistance.

"If anybody files a deficient claim, we will work with that claimant to try to cure that deficiency," Feinberg said. "There are a menu of options as to documentation."

The concern is that many of these crashes and fatalities occurred years ago and documentation may be difficult for victims to find.

Feinberg said appropriate documentation may include police reports and photographs of the accident.

Payment of claims will begin as early as 90 days after the claims are "deemed to be complete," he said.

Delphi CEO Rodney O'Neal told the subcommittee that his company has shipped more than 1 million new switches to fix the recalled vehicles and "are on track to deliver 2 million new switches by the end of August."

GM said it had repaired 491,344 recalled small cars as of July 15.

GM CEO Mary Barra also testified before the committee on Thursday, again underscoring GM's renewed commitment to vehicle safety.

"We are not waiting to see if a trend" emerges or "waiting to update a spreadsheet" before recalling defective vehicles now, Barra said.

Barra also said she backs a national VIN database to make it easier to find owners in recall campaigns.

Edmunds says: Consumers get some important advice from the man who will decide who receives compensation for injury or death suffered because of defective GM ignition switches in recalled small cars.

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