WASHINGTON (AP) — The man in charge of compensating victims of crashes in small GM cars is prepared to pay out billions of dollars -- to those who can prove that the cars' faulty ignition switches caused the crash.
Kenneth Feinberg, one of the country's top compensation experts, outlined the details of the plan today in Washington.
He says GM has placed no limit on the total amount he can pay to injured people, or to relatives of those who were killed. And even though he's being paid by GM, he says he alone -- and not the company -- will decide how much money each person can get.
Feinberg isn't estimating the ultimate cost to GM, saying he has no idea how many death or injury claims he will get.
With the compensation plan, GM is trying to limit its legal liabilities, control the damage to its image and eventually move beyond the crisis caused by its failure to correct the ignition switch problem for more than a decade. During that time, the company learned of fatal crashes. This year, it recalled 2.6 million older small cars to replace the switches.
The company says the defective ignition switch is linked to 13 deaths. But trial lawyers and lawmakers say the claims for wrongful death and injury could total in the hundreds.
160-a-16-(Kenneth Feinberg (FYN'-burg), administrator, General Motors victim compensation plan, at news conference)-"under this program"-GM compensation plan administrator Kenneth Feinberg says even when the drivers were partly responsible for crashes involving the faulty ignition switches, victims are eligible for compensation. (30 Jun 2014)
<<CUT *160 (06/30/14)££ 00:16 "under this program"
163-a-16-(Kenneth Feinberg (FYN'-burg), administrator, General Motors victim compensation plan, at news conference)-"the ignition switch"-GM compensation plan administrator Kenneth Feinberg says a few conditions will disqualify accident victims from receiving compensation. (30 Jun 2014)
<<CUT *163 (06/30/14)££ 00:16 "the ignition switch"
161-a-15-(Kenneth Feinberg (FYN'-burg), administrator, General Motors victim compensation plan, at news conference)-"in the accident"-GM compensation plan administrator Kenneth Feinberg outlines who is eligible for compensation for an accident involving a faulty ignition switch. (30 Jun 2014)
<<CUT *161 (06/30/14)££ 00:15 "in the accident"
APPHOTO DCMC104: Kenneth Feinberg, the independent claims administrator for the GM Ignition Compensation Program, announces the details of the program, including eligibility, scope, rules for the program, and timing of submitting claims, during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (30 Jun 2014)
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