A product recalls lawsuit against General Motors for the wrongful deaths of two teenagers has been dismissed. The families of the teens have chosen to pursue claims against General Motors in the GM ignition switch settlement fund rather than litigate their claims in court.
Eighteen year old Natasha Weigel and Amy Rademaker, 15, were among the first victims of the defective ignition switches. Both Wisconsin teens died in an October 24, 2006 crash. Evidence from that crash was instrumental in exposing how both General Motors and federal regulatory agencies missed important clues that should have resulted in a recall many years before 2014, when the vehicles with the faulty ignition switches were finally recalled.
The teens’ deaths are among 21 death claims that the settlement fund administrator has approved since August 1, when acceptance of claims began. One hundred forty-three death claims have now been filed in the settlement program. A spokesperson for the fund administrator reported that the first formal cash compensation offers have been made to 15 claimants. An attorney for the families of the teens described the settlement offers as “fairly fair” without disclosing the actual amounts. Earlier, the attorney had announced that he expected each of the girls’ families would receive at least $3 million. The settlement fund will pay at least $1 million for each death claim in addition to $300,000 to surviving spouses and children for pain and suffering. If the families are not satisfied with the offers, they can refile their lawsuits.
The driver of the 2005 Cobalt in which the teens were passengers was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit. She survived the crash, but has permanent brain damage as a result. The data recorder – or “black box” – indicated that the ignition switch was in “accessory” mode at the time of the crash.
The GM ignition switch settlement program has received a total of 850 product recalls claims arising from defective ignition switchs. Of the 850 claims, 143 are death claims.
If you or a family member was injured or killed in an automobile accident involving one of the GM vehicles that was recalled for a defective ignition switch, contact the Ohio GM ignition switch attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List. Time is important, as the deadline to file a claim with the GM ignition switch settlement fund is December 31, 2014.