GM Extends Compensation Deadline Over Ignition Recall

Speaking at a June 2014 press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, lawyer Kenneth Feinberg ays out the details of the compensation program he is administrating for General Motors to pay victims and their families that were affected by defective ignition switches installed in 2.6 million GM vehicles. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

GM Extends Compensation Deadline Over Ignition Recall

General Motors has extended the deadline for compensation claims related to an ignition-switch problem that has been linked to 32 deaths.

WASHINGTON -- General Motors (IW 500/5) has agreed to extend the deadline for compensation claims related to an ignition-switch problem that has been linked to 32 deaths.

The largest US automaker has been under fire over the defect in many models sold from 1998-2011 in which the faulty ignition system could turn off power to a car's power steering and safety airbags while it is in motion.

The company has set up an independent compensation fund for victims, run by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, with plans to pay $1 million per fatality plus $300,000 to each surviving spouse and possible beneficiary.

The GM fund was to accept compensation claims through December 31, but announced it had heeded a call to extend that deadline.

"We agreed with Ken Feinberg's recommendation to extend the compensation program deadline," the company said in a statement. "Our goal with the program has been to reach every eligible person impacted."

The company did not specify the new deadline, but US media reported it would add a month to allow more claims to come forward from families who may not have been aware of the program.

Those who accept compensation under the Feinberg-led process give up the right to sue GM otherwise.

GM also faces investigations from Congress, regulators and the Justice Department over why it waited more than a decade after first uncovering the ignition-switch problem to start recalling cars.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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