Ken and Jane Rimer, whose daughter Natasha Weigel was killed in the same accident say the settlement allows them to move forward.
"Was it a fair settlement?" asked Ken Rimer when discussing the settlement. "For what GM settled other cases for in the past it's probably not fair. But we've accomplished what we wanted to do. This is a way to hold GM responsible for the errors it made."
The families' attorney, Bob Hilliard, declined to give the amount of the settlements. Hilliard did say the offer was, "within the realm of reasonableness."
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The parameters set up by attorney Ken Feinberg, who is overseeing the compensation fund, call for the families of those killed in certain defective GM vehicles to receive at least $1 million plus $300,000 payments to surviving spouses and children. In addition, Feinberg and his team will calculate the economic value of the life that was lost.
Settling instead of going to court
Beskau says a primary factor in her decision to drop a wrongful death lawsuit against GM and agree to settle is the likelihood the automaker would use bankruptcy protection to limit its exposure. Since the accident that killed 15-year-old Rademaker and 17-year-old Weigel happened in 2006 before GM declared bankruptcy, the automaker could have invoked a shield it was given in bankruptcy absolving it of any legal responsibility for accidents that occurred before entering Chapter 11 reorganization.
"We just felt we'd come out better financially and emotionally if we went ahead and settled," Beskau said. "There was no guarantee we would win, so this seemed like the right decision to make."