GM Ignition Compensation
Claims Resolution Facility
December 10, 2015
The GM Compensation Claims Resolution Facility is nearing completion of its work. The Program was designed to provide swift compensation to eligible individual claimants who submitted claims to the Facility. During the past sixteen months, the Facility has worked closely with individual claimants (and their lawyers if applicable) to determine eligibility and compensation. The Facility has reviewed, evaluated, and resolved 4,343 claims and determined that 399 claims were eligible for compensation from the Program. These 399 eligible claims were finalized and payment has been made, or is in process, to all claimants who have accepted the Facility’s Final Determination Offer. The total aggregate amount of compensation offered was $594,535,752. The Facility is pleased to report that over 90 percent of the offers extended to eligible claimants were accepted. We attribute the success of the Program to a number of important factors, including the following:
First, to achieve the goal of notifying as many potentially eligible individuals about the existence of the Program, over 5 million notices were sent out by GM to current and former owners of eligible vehicles announcing the establishment of the Program.
Second, in developing the Protocol, the Program Administrator solicited input from divergent interests, including claimants’ attorneys, GM, and other groups. While the Administrator gave due consideration to all submitted views and opinions, the Facility retained complete and sole discretion over all eligibility decisions and compensation awards to eligible claimants. GM placed no cap on the aggregate amount, had no say in final eligibility determinations and agreed to pay whatever the Facility deemed appropriate in each and every case.
Third, the Facility’s goal was to create a compensation program that was efficient, speedy, cost effective, and consistent in resolving the claims of individuals who applied for compensation. For this reason, the Facility did not conduct rigorous scientific or technical determinations or engineering analyses as to whether an ignition-switch defect manifested itself in a particular accident or whether a particular death or injury was “caused” by an ignition-switch defect. The Facility also did not consider legal defenses that might otherwise be available to GM in litigation, such as contributory negligence, statutes of limitations, or the bankruptcy shield.
Final Program Statistics
|Table No. 1: Claims Filed|
|Total Individual Eligible Claims:||4,343|
|Table No. 2: Final Eligibility Determinations|
|Total Individual Eligible Claims:||399||3,944|
|% of Eligible Claims:||9.2%||90.8%|
|Table No. 3: Final Offers Accepted/Rejected|
|Total Individual Eligible Claims:||361||37||1*|
|% of Eligible Claims:||90.5%||9.3%||.2%|
|*Outstanding Offer Expires 1/6/16|
|Table No. 4: Date of Accident|
Number of Accidents Occurring Pre and
Post GM Bankruptcy Filing Date
|Accident Occurred prior to July 10, 2009|
|All Submitted Claims:||856|
|Accident Occurred on or after July 10, 2009|
|All Submitted Claims:||3,105|
Table No. 5: Contributory Negligence (244 individual eligible claims had one|
or more of the following factors associated with their respective accidents)*
|No Seat Belt:||55||5||64||124|
|Driving Under the Influence (Alcohol or Drugs):||32||4||32||68|
|Total Contributory Negligence Factors:||151||15||201||367|
|Total Individual Eligible Claims:||92||8||144||244|
|% of Eligible Claims:||74%||44%||56%||61%|
*It is important to emphasize that the Protocol expressly ignored any evidence of contributory negligence on the part of the driver; accordingly, the Program did not consider any such evidence in making its individual determinations. Yet, contributory negligence loomed large as a contributing cause of many of the automobile accidents resulting in death and physical injury.
Of the 399 claims deemed eligible for compensation by the Program, 244 claims (61%) involved accidents in which the claim file documentation contained clear evidence of one or more of the following examples of contributory negligence: no seat belt, excessive speed, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, fell asleep, reckless driving. (Several claimants were associated with multiple factors of contributory negligence.) In such cases, claimants would confront serious legal challenges if litigating in the courtroom. By ignoring any evidence of such contributory negligence, the Program proved to be a preferred avenue for individuals seeking compensation.