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General Motors has extended the deadline to file claims for injuries or deaths caused by faulty ignition switches in the carmaker's vehicles.
The deadline was extended from December 31, 2014 to January 31, 2015 by Kenneth Feinberg, the compensation program's administrator, reports Reuters. Notice of the extension was mailed to 4.5 million current and former owners of vehicles eligible for the program.
What led to the extension and what should owners of GM vehicles known about the compensation claim program?
Compensation Fund Set Up Following Reports of Injuries, Deaths
General Motors established the compensation program, known as the GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility, earlier this year following a growing number of injuries and deaths linked to faulty ignition switches in GM vehicles. Under the terms of the compensation plan, anyone who was a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or occupant of another vehicle and was injured or died in an accident caused by a faulty ignition switch in a GM vehicle was eligible to obtain compensation from the fund.
Beneficiaries of those who were killed in accidents will receive a minimum of $1 million under the compensation program, with those injured likely receiving less. In exchange for receiving compensation under the GM program, accident victims agree to release all claims against GM related to the ignition-switch defect. There are currently multiple class action lawsuits against the automaker, both for injuries and deaths caused by the defect, but also for economic damages suffered by owners of cars affected by the company's massive recall of potentially defective automobiles.
Compensation for 33 Deaths Approved
The compensation program has so far approved claims for families of 33 people killed in GM cars and has received 2,105 claims as of Friday, reports Reuters. The company said in a press release that it decided to extend the deadline in an attempt to "provide comprehensive notice and give each claimant an opportunity to file a claim in a timely manner."
Consumers who wish to learn more about the compensation program or see if they own a car that may be subject to the recall for faulty ignition switches can visit the GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility website.