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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Feinberg Reveals GM Ignition Switch Compensation Formula

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General Motors

After recalling millions of vehicles for a deadly ignition switch defect, General Motors turned to Kenneth Feinberg to create and administer a compensation plan to pay victims and their families.  Feinberg announced the details of the GM compensation plan today in a Final Protocol for Compensation of Certain Death and Physical Injury Claims Pertaining to the GM Ignition Switch Recall.

In an interview with USA Today, Feinberg confirmed he would be the final arbiter in the voluntary compensation process.  “GM delegated to me, at my full and sole discretion, to decide which claims are eligible, and how much money they should get.  There are no appeals [by GM or victims].  Once I make a decision, that’s it”, said Feinberg.

Feinberg said there would be no cap on either individual claims or the total amount paid out of the compensation plan.  Individual awards will be based on U.S. Bureau of Labor calculations of economic loss from human tragedy, though claims involving special circumstances will be evaluated individually and may be entitled to a larger award.

Claimants who have already filed suit against General Motors may still submit claims to the compensation plan.  However, accepting compensation under the plan would require dismissal of any pending suit and/or waiver of any lawsuit against GM for the defect.

Langdon & Emison represents dozens of victims of GM’s ignition switch defect.  We are happy discuss your questions about the defect and claims resolution process.

Feinberg has released a list of Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) about the payment system.  Some highlights include:

1.3  Who May File A Claim?

To be eligible to file a claim under the Facility you must meet the following criteria:You must have been a driver, passenger, pedestrian or an occupant of another vehicle involved in an accident resulting in physical injury or death due to the Ignition Switch Defect involving one of the following categories of vehicles (“Eligible Vehicle”):
Production Part Vehicles
 
Vehicles in which the ignition switch was not  replaced prior to the accident include only the following models:
  • Chevrolet Cobalt (Model Years 2005-2007)
  • Chevrolet HHR (Model Years 2006-2007)
  • Daewoo G2X (Model Year 2007)
  • Opel/Vauxhall GT (Model Year 2007)
  • Pontiac G4 (Model Years 2005-2006)
  • Pontiac G5 (Model Year 2007)
  • Pontiac Pursuit (Model Years 2005-2006)
  • Pontiac Solstice (Model Years 2006-2007)
  • Saturn Ion (Model Years 2003-2007)
  • Saturn Sky (Model Year 2007)

Service Part Vehicles

Vehicles in which the ignition switch was replaced prior to the accident with an ignition switch bearing the Part No. 10392423; AND the accident in question occurred after such replacement. The Service Part Vehicles include only the following models:

  • Chevrolet Cobalt (Model Years 2008-2010)
  • Chevrolet HHR (Model Years 2008-2011)
  • Daewoo G2X (Model Years 2008-2009)
  • Opel/Vauxhall GT (Model Years 2008-2010)
  • Pontiac G5 (Model Years 2008-2010)
  • Pontiac Solstice (Model Years 2008-2010)
  • Saturn Sky (Model Years 2008-2010)

2.5  What are the Deadlines for Filing a Claim?

The Claim Form submission period begins on  August 1, 2014. All claims must be postmarked orsubmitted electronically through the Facility’s website by December 31, 2014.

3.2  Will Claims for Property Damage be Eligible for Compensation?

No.  Claims for property damage are not eligible for compensation under this Facility.

3.4  What Proof Will I Have to Submit to Receive Compensation From the Facility?

In order to be determined an Eligible Claimant, you will be required to submit documentation to show that the Ignition Switch Defect in an Eligible Vehicle was the proximate cause of the accident causing death or physical injury, e.g., an official police report, the Event Data Recorder (“EDR”) data captured by a vehicle’s computer, photographs, insurance claim and report of the accident, repair and warranty records, etc.  Additional required supporting documentation will be clearly defined on the Claim Form (available August 1, 2014).

3.5  Can a Lawyer or Other Person Represent an Eligible Claimant?

Yes. You may choose to be represented by a lawyer at your own expense. The lawyer must be identified on your Claim Form. If a lawyer is engaged later in the process, you must promptly notify the Facility Administrator of the engagement. If you are represented by a lawyer, you must provide to the Facility Administrator a signed Retention Agreement between you and your lawyer.  The Facility Administrator will communicate directly with such counsel instead of with you regarding all issues associated with your Claim.

3.8  Who Will Decide Whether My Claim is Eligible and How Much Money I Will Receive?

The Facility Administrator [Kennth Feinberg] and his staff will review all Claim Forms, along with the supporting documentation provided, and will decide both the eligibility of the claim and the amount of compensation in accordance with the Protocol. A copy of the Protocol is available to the public on the Facility’s website at www.GMIgnitionCompensation.com. 

3.10  What Rights Must I Give Up in Order to Receive Compensation From the Facility?

Filing a claim with the Facility will not affect any of the legal rights you currently have.  If you elect to accept an offer of compensation from the Facility, you will be required to execute a release of all present, past, and future claims against GM and all other potential defendants arising out of the Ignition Switch Defect prior to receiving any money (a “Required Release”).

4.1  What Are the Types of Eligible Claims that the Facility Covers?

There are three categories of individual claims for physical injury or death which may be submitted pursuant to this Protocol. The following are the three categories:

  1. Claims for Death
  2. Category One Physical Injury Claims:  Physical injury claims involving quadriplegic injury, paraplegic injury, double amputation, permanent brain damage requiring continuous home medical assistance, and pervasive burns encompassing a substantial part of the body(“Category One Claims”).
  3. Category Two Physical injury claims other than Category One Claims: Physical injury claims that required hospitalization within 48 hours after the accident, or in extraordinary circumstances as determined on a case by case basis by the Administrator, outpatient medical treatment within 48 hours after the accident (“Category Two Claims”).

4.2  What is the Methodology for the Calculation of a Death Claim?

Eligible Claimants submitting a Death Claim may elect to have their compensation calculated based onone of the following methods:

Track A: “Presumptive Compensation” — The Track A claim is reviewed using national economic loss data compiled by multiple sources including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Internal Revenue Service including data on average life expectancy, growth rates in personal earnings, individual consumption rates as well as tax rates, and the Claimant’s historical earnings information. Claimants choosing the Presumptive Compensation path may generally expect to receive payment within 90 days after submission of the required materials set forth in the Claim Form.

Track B: “Complete Economic Analysis” – Claimants opting for a Complete Economic Analysis will be required to present a complete, comprehensive, and detailed economic loss analysis of the decedent’s past, present, and future income, which will entail the submission of considerably more documentation. Payment subsequent to a Complete Economic Analysis will generally be made within 180 days after submission of the required materials set forth in the Claim Form.

4.3  What is the Methodology for the Calculation of a Category One Physical Injury Claim?

Eligible Claimants submitting a Category One Physical Injury Claim will have their compensation calculated in the same way as Individual Death Claims under Track A or Track B, as defined in Question 4.2 above, as voluntarily selected by the Eligible Claimant.

Claims submitted for a Category One Physical Injury will, in some cases, also require the calculation of a long-term life care plan along with the calculation of non-economic loss. If a Category One Claimant chooses the Track A methodology, the value of such a long term life-care plan will be presumed to be the present value of the national average of such long term life-care plans, which includes consideration of costs associated with home assistance, therapy and transportation, medical care, medications, equipment and supplies, home modifications, etc. 

4.4  What is the Methodology for the Calculation of a Category Two Physical Injury Claim?

A. Eligible Claimants who were physically injured and hospitalized within 48 hours of the accidentfor one or more nights as a result of the accident will receive compensation based upon the followingcategories:

  • Hospitalization of no less than 32 overnights: $500,000
  • Hospitalization of 24 to 31 overnights: $385,000
  • Hospitalization of 16 to 23 overnights:  $260,000
  • Hospitalization of 8 to 15 overnights:  $170,000
  • Hospitalization of 2 to 7 overnights:  $70,000
  • Hospitalization of 1 overnight:  $20,000

B. Eligible claimants who were physically injured, but were not hospitalized overnight because ofextraordinary circumstances, will receive up to a maximum of $20,000 for medical treatment resultingfrom the accident, if such treatment commenced within 48 hours of the accident. (This compensationencompasses both economic loss and non-economic loss.) Any subsequent overnight hospitalization ofsuch eligible claimant for physical injuries as a result of the accident will be compensated according tothe number of nights of hospitalization as outlined above for a Category Two Hospitalization claim.However, the total compensation will not exceed the maximum allocated amount of each hospitalizationcategory shown above.

5.1  Which Vehicles are Defined as Eligible Vehicles Under the Facility?

Eligible Vehicles are as follows:

Production Part Vehicles

Vehicles in which the ignition switch was not replaced prior to the accident include only the following models:

  • Chevrolet Cobalt (Model Years 2005-2007)
  • Chevrolet HHR (Model Years 2006-2007)
  • Daewoo G2X (Model Year 2007)
  • Opel/Vauxhall GT (Model Year 2007)
  • Pontiac G4 (Model Years 2005-2006)
  • Pontiac G5 (Model Year 2007)
  • Pontiac Pursuit (Model Years 2005-2006)
  • Pontiac Solstice (Model Years 2006-2007)
  • Saturn Ion (Model Years 2003-2007)
  • Saturn Sky (Model Year 2007)

Service Part Vehicles

Vehicles in which the ignition switch was replaced prior to the accident with anignition switch bearing the Part No. 10392423; AND the accident in question occurred after such replacement. The Service Part Vehicles include only the following models:
  • Chevrolet Cobalt (Model Years 2008-2010)
  • Chevrolet HHR (Model Years 2008-2011)
  • Daewoo G2X (Model Years 2008-2009)
  • Opel/Vauxhall GT (Model Years 2008-2010)
  • Pontiac G5 (Model Years 2008-2010)
  • Pontiac Solstice (Model Years 2008-2010)
  • Saturn Sky (Model Years 2008-2010)

5.2  What if My Vehicle is Not on This List [of Eligible Vehicles]?

If your vehicle is not one of the models and model year vehicles listed in Question No. 5.1, you are not eligible to file a claim with this Facility pursuant to this Protocol.

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