Just as leading compensation expert attorney Kenneth Feinberg announced that General Motors has not imposed any ceiling on the amount of money he can pay to those injured as well as to relatives of those killed involving ignition switch failures, the automaker issued a recall for an additional 8.2 million cars going back to 1997. These include Chevy Malibus from 1997-2005, Pontiac Grand Prix from 2004, and 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS. Although GM said it is aware of 3 fatalities. 8 deaths and 7 additional crashes involving these models they added there is “no proof that faulty ignition switches caused these accidents.”
The company also recalled an additional 200,000 cars yesterday to correct electrical shorts in the driver’s side door that could disable power locks and windows, leading to overheating. Earlier in the week, GM CEO Mary Barra told Matt Lauer of the Today Show that “If any other issues come to our attention, we will act appropriately and without hesitation.”
In the meantime, Feinberg has declined to estimate how much settlements would cost the company, which could conceivably run into the billions of dollars depending on how many claims are made. While 13 deaths have been tied to accidents caused by defective ignition switches in Saturn Ions and Chevy Cobolts, trial attorneys and legislators stated that hundreds of other could file suit for wrongful deaths and accidents.
However, a spokesman for GM stated that “victims in cases involving the newly recalled automobiles would not be included in the fund already set up for the earlier small-car cases already under investigation by the US Justice Department as well as both Congressional houses. Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had fined General Motors $35 million for delaying reporting the ignition switch problems, which they were aware of as far back as 10 years ago.