Seven months after the General Motors ignition switch victim compensation fund started accepting applications for payments, five settlement offers have been rejected by victims of the defective vehicles or their families.
Camille Biros, the fund's deputy administrator, would not say exactly when the settlement offers were rejected. However in recent interviews, Ken Feinberg, who oversees the fund, gave no indication any settlements had been declined by victims or families of those who died in accidents involving GM vehicles with faulty ignition switches.
Overall, 109 settlement offers have been extended. Among those, 84 have been accepted and 50 of those claims have either been paid or are in the process of being paid.
The fund would not reveal exactly how much money is being offered with each claim approved for a settlement. Feinberg, who has final say on all decisions, said the amount of money being offered depends on a number of factors including the severity of injuries, the victim's age and how their potential future earnings were impacted by being injured or killed in a recalled GM vehicle.
Depending on the cases, settlement offers could range from $20,000 to more than $5 million. GM said it expects to pay up to $400 million in settlements to victims who have been injured in defective vehicles, or to the families of those killed in accidents involving certain recalled GM models.
Those who accept settlement offers from the fund give up their right to sue General Motors, while those who reject a payment can take the automaker to court.
Depending on when the accident occurred, those who choose to sue GM could face the legal challenge of proving the automaker should pay for an accident that took place before the company went through bankruptcy in 2009.
As part of its structured bankruptcy, GM received a legal shield protecting it from lawsuits involving accidents that happened before the company went through Chapter 11 restructuring.
A total of 4,343 applications have been filed with the ignition switch fund. So far, 161 have been approved for a settlement offer.
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