GM Denies Plea To Extend Ignition-Switch Claims Deadline | Edmunds

GM Denies Plea To Extend Ignition-Switch Claims Deadline

DETROIT General Motors said it will not extend the January 31 compensation-fund filing deadline for victims of its deadly ignition switch defect, despite requests from two U.S. senators.

"Our goal is to be just and timely in compensating the families who lost loved ones and those who suffered physical injury," said GM CEO Mary Barra in a statement provided to Edmunds. "We have conducted extensive outreach about the program and contacted more than 5 million current and former owners of the recalled vehicles. We previously extended the deadline until January 31, and we do not plan another extension."

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward J. Markey sent a letter to Barra on Wednesday urging the automaker to extend the deadline.

"Injured parties do not know enough about their legal rights or facts to make an informed decision," the letter said.

The senators noted that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether any criminal conduct was involved in GM's handling of the ignition switch defect.

"Further, several victims who have decided to pursue claims in court are waiting on a federal court determination of the extent of GM's liability in the aftermath of its 2009 bankruptcy," the letter said. "While we appreciate your company's voluntary commitment to the compensation fund, to truly live up to the promises you have made to the American public in the wake of the ignition-switch recalls, GM must reconsider the deadlines associated with the fund."

On Monday, fund manager Kenneth Feinberg announced that the total fatalities attributed to the defective cars had climbed to 50.

Nearly 900,000 GM vehicles with potentially defective ignition switches are still on the road, according to a document filed by the automaker on January 23, 2015 with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The defective ignition switch can affect the same operation of the airbag systems, according to NHTSA.

Edmunds says: The clock is running down for victims who want to file a claim for compensation in the GM ignition-switch recall.

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