Last Update: 01/13/16
Yesterday, General Motors Corporation (GM) announced 6 NEW recalls of its products that involve 7,600,000 vehicles on U.S. roads right now, cars made from 1997 through 2014. GM CEO Mary Barra has also hinted that GM isn’t done with all these recalls and that we can expect to hear more about GM cars, trucks, SUVS, minivans, and other GM vehicles being recalled.
Check Your GM Car — Odds Are High It’s Subject to Recall
For details about the General Motors recalls, go here, where AOL.com is keeping a running list of year, make, and model information on the GM recalls that have been issued since the beginning of this year.
To check your own GM vehicle, get your VIN (vehicle identification number) and plug it into the online GM Recall Center.
GM Cars Made From 1997 Forward Are Dangerous
This week’s GM recall involves popular cars like the Chevrolet Malibu (1997-2005 recalled) and the Cadillac CTS (2003-2014 models recalled). These are more recalls involving deadly problems: both the Malibu and the CTS are being recalled by GM for “unintended ignition key rotation” — just like the earlier massive GM recalls that resulted in their newly announced victims compensation fund.
Also recalled in this latest wave of GM vehicles are 2005-2007 model year Chevrolet TrailBlazers because of a “possible electrical short in the driver’s door module that could disable the power door lock and window switches and, in rare cases, overheat the module.”
GM Recall Compensation Plan: Should Victims Be Happy With This Offer?
In response to the ignition switch recalls from a few weeks back, GM also announced yesterday that it has set up a “Victim’s Compensation Fund” with a schedule already calculated for who gets what, according to GM’s calculations. Included as examples of the settlement offers (where victims get money in exchange for agreeing to not sue General Motors), from GM’s compensation expert during their press conference are:
- death of 17-year-old student — $2.2 million
- death of 25-year-old with two kids and a spouse, $46,000 annual income — $4 million
- death of 25-year-old with two kids and a spouse, $75,000 salary — $5.1 million
- death of 10-year-old paraplegic — $7.8 million
- lesser injuries (other than wrongful death) are covered, with GM offering much less (e.g., $70,000 in some scenarios)
The GM expert, an attorney named Kenneth Feinberg, explained that GM was prepared to pay $1 million for a death and more money could be paid to the victim’s survivors depending upon things like lost earnings and number of kids. General Motors has not placed a limit on the amount of money it might end up paying out overall through the compensation fund.
Payment could be in the victim’s loved one’s hands within 90 days.
So what’s the problem?
This plan is targeting only those cases where ignition switch defects and faulty air bags caused accidents in cars recalled in February 2014 – and for those cars where the air bags didn’t work.
The fund doesn’t cover any recall that has been, or will be, issued after that February recall of 2,600,000 GM vehicles. So, yesterday’s GM recall of 8,400,000 cars (millions with the same ignition switch danger)? Those 8.4 million vehicles are not included in the GM Compensation Fund.
Moreover, accidents may have been caused by a power steering failure brought about by the ignition switch flaw and this situation aren’t covered, either. This compensation fund isn’t covering all the recall problems that have caused accidents in the past decade or more.
And there’s no appeal here. Take the deal and you are done.
This may be an acceptable bargain for some, but it’s not fair for others. Having an experienced personal injury attorney review options before agreeing to take the money being offered by General Motors in this blanket settlement offer is a smart thing to do.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in an accident, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.