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GM Settlements to be Paid for Accidents Where Airbags Did Not Deploy

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Individuals who have suffered a personal injury or died in auto accidents that may have been caused by defective ignition switches in recalled Chevy, Pontiac and Saturn vehicles may qualify for payments from a General Motors (GM) compensation fund that is currently being negotiated.

The General Motors settlement fund is being administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM CEO Mary Barra to resolve injury and death cases that may have been caused by ignition switch problems that have affected millions of vehicles.

During a press conference this morning, Feinberg announced that GM settlements will start at $1 million for families of individuals who died in an accident linked to defective ignition switches. In addition, the company will pay estimated lifetime earnings and $300,000 to a spouse and each dependent. Those who suffered life-altering injuries may receive many times more, including compensation for a life time of medical care, Feinberg announced.

Feinberg said that the fund will be uncapped, meaning that it will have no upper limit, and that GM will offer compensation to all drivers, passengers and bystanders who were injured or died in accidents linked to the defective switches. The fund will even cover accidents that have not yet occurred, and will compensate any individuals involved in GM ignition switch-related accidents through the end of this year.

The cases stem from a GM ignition switch recall first issued in February, which has been expanded several times to ultimately include more than 2.5 million Chevy Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Pursuit, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky vehicles.

The automaker has acknowledged that the vehicles may suddenly shut of if heavy key chains were used or if the ignition was jarred, such as may occur in an accident. This may switch off the air bags, causing them to fail to deploy when needed in an accident.

Some have suggested that General Motors hopes that the creation of a settlement fund will alleviate some of the potential legal woes and negative corporate image generated by the controversial recall, as it has been established that GM know about the potential ignition switch problems for years, yet failed to correct the problem or recall the vehicles. Barra called the fund GM’s “civic duty.”

While GM has indicated that it only knows of 13 deaths and about 47 accidents linked to the recall, the federal investigators and independent consumer groups have predicted that those numbers are expected to rise upon deeper analysis of accident records.

Economic Damages Lawsuits Not Included

Barra and other GM officials have said that while the company wants to compensate injury and death victims, it will attempt to fight off any lawsuits involving economic damages. Those lawsuits, including several class actions, have come from both GM vehicle owners who say their vehicles have depreciated in value, and investors who said the company made false statements about the safety of its vehicles, artificially inflating the value of its stock.

GM officials have known about the ignition switch problems since at least 2002, according to investigations by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and GM’s own internal probe. However, the company failed to act until this year, due to what GM’s own report called a “pattern of incompetence.”

The NHTSA fined GM a record $35 million over their handling of the recall. The automaker also agreed to submit to extensive government oversight as part of a consent agreement designed to change the culture of the company.

At least 15 different GM ignition switch lawsuits have already been filed, and the number of cases is expected to grow.

In early June, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order consolidating all economic lawsuits against GM under U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman in federal court in New York for pretrial proceedings.

GM Recalls Continue

Since the first ignition switch recall was announced, GM has issued numerous recalls for other problems with its vehicles, affecting more than 20 million vehicles in North America this year.

On Friday, GM announced additional recalls affecting more than half a million more vehicles for various reasons.

The largest is a recall of 392,459 model year 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado trucks and 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Only the four-wheel drive versions of the vehicles are affected by the recall, which may require a dealer to recalibrate software controlling the gears. Vehicles affected by the problem can slip into neutral unexpectedly, the company warns.

Just under 30,000 model year 2013 and 2014 Chevy Cruze vehicles are also being recalled because they may have defective air bags. The air bags were made by Takata Corporation and have resulted in millions of recalled vehicles from more than half a dozen auto makers. The recall came after GM ordered dealers to temporarily halt Chevy Cruze sales.

In some cases, the air bag inflators can launch shrapnel into the passenger’s compartment, putting occupants at risk of injury or death. In other cases, there have been reports of the air bags opening unexpectedly due to humidity.

The Chevy Cruze is GM’s best-selling vehicle.

Photo Courtesy of Mrs. FireMom via Flickr Creative Commons

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89 comments

  1. evelyn Reply

    I was in car accident involving chevy calier shoulder dameges and surgery airbags never deployed. lawyer giving me the run around iam not getting any answers..About may case..accident was may. 29, 2013
    still feel lots of pain and stress. 3 people in a car car all 3 badly hurt.cause of no airbags,.. can we at least find out where every one stands on he cases..

  2. Darren Reply

    I have owned 12 vehicles manufactured BY GMC AND CHEVY. FROM 2008 TO 2015 i HAVE HAD 3 GMC DENALI’S ANDONE G,C YUKON. ALL HAVING RECALLS. THE 2015 WAS THE LAST GMC I PURCHASED AND WILL BE THE LAST I EVER PURCHASE. THE TRUCK CAME OFF THE ASSEMBLY LINE JUNE 15 2015 AND I PURCHASED IT SEPTEMBER 17. ON MY WAY TO VACATION THE TRUCK STARTED GIVING ME PROBLEMS AND ONLY HAD ABOUT 620 MILES ON IT. IT SUSTAINED AROUND 36000,00 WORTH OF DAMAGE AND THE BODY SHOP TOLD ME THE ONLY THING THEY DO NOT HAVE TO TOUCH ON THE TRUCK IS THE ROOF. WELL, AIRBAGS DIDN’T DEPLOY, SEAT BELTS DID NOT WORK , OJ STAR DID NOT WORK AND I HAD TO FIGHT WITH ALLSTATE FOR ALMOST 3 MONTHS TO GET PAID FOR MY TRUCK. NOW GMC HAS ITS OWN INSURANCE COMPANY AND THEY ARE THE RUDEST PEOPLE I HAVE EVER DEALT WITH.,.ME AND MY WIFE WERE BOTH HURT IN THE ACCIDENT AND THEY SAY NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH THE TRUCK. I AM GOING TO STOP HERE. DO SOME RESEARCH AND SEE THAT THAT PARTICULAR TRUCK HAS 43 PROBLEMS. I AM SO TIRED OF BEING LIED TO AND CAN NOT GET ANY ANSWERS THAT I AM HIRING AN ATTORNEY TO TAkE OVER. ONE MORE THING I HAVE 5 CAMERAS IN MY TRUCK AND 22 HOURS OF RECORDING. THEY LIED ABOUT Everything and i have it on live footage. PLUS I RECEIVED 6 TICKETS AND NEVER SEEN A COP AT THE ACCIDENT AND THE TICKETS SAY I WAS DRIVING A ((((((LINCOLN DENALI)))))) WHAT,,,,,,HE SHOULD NOT BE A COP. HE SAID I REAR ENDED AN 18 WHEELER AND I DO NOT HAVE A SCRATCH ON MY HOOD NOT MY GRILL. BUT MY BUMPER WAS PULLED ABOUT 2 FOOT FORWARD???? FIGURE THAT OUT….HE HAD TO BE BLIND. OR RETARDED……LOOK OUT BECAUSE I WANT TO OWN GMC…I DO NEED AN ATTORNEY SO IF YOU WANT TO HANDLE A FOR SURE WINNING CASE, GET IN TOUCH WITH ME. lets make them pay, i have got live evidence,,,,,,,,,yes….

  3. Greg Reply

    wife had accident and no air

  4. Brian Reply

    2011 Silverado LS on my way to Church abt 300yds from home & airbag just went off! I think my left arm is broken, & I’ve got a big knot on my head! Missed my temple by a half inch! Felt like someone shot me in the head! I’m abt to have to go have my arm X-rayd! I hope it’s not broke I have to Work!

  5. Gaby Reply

    I just had an accident yesterday, my car was declared total loss!! All rhe front is destoyed, even the transmission was broken, there was red oil from it all over the place, anyway, the air bags did not deployed, i hit my head very bad, my body is sore, and im feeling awful. The responsible guy did not have insurance, so i got to pay evything out of pocket. My insurance is gonna pay the actual car value with is less than what I owe to my car loan, so I will have to pay the difference… And about me? Cant even go to the hospital and im in so much pain! But theres no way i can afford that

  6. Drew Reply

    2006 chevy avalanche air bags did not deploy. Myself, 4 minor children, and childrens grandmother was involved there grandmother died in the accident. Due to the airbags not going off.. 3 of the 4 children required surgery with 2 of them in icu. 1 child requiring back surgery leg arm surgery and intensive head trauma. And may end up paralyzed for life due to this trucks defects. Please contact me were in despret need of guidance of what to do next. After 2 months in the hospital. And were still here. Waiting more surgerys on my. 13 yr old son. We are looking for some answers .

  7. Willie Reply

    August 31,2016 my. 2o11 impal a shuts off. And causes me to hit a pine tree.my airbags did not work

  8. Sally Reply

    2009 GMC Envoy..was a passenger, hit a tree head-on. Broke my nose, 6 teeth, split my top lip in half, crushed my tibial plateau. I now have pins and plates in my leg, can’t feel half of my nose, horrible sinus problems and ugly scars on my lip and nose…totally embarrassing. The air bags didn’t deploy and my impact cracked the dash.

  9. Donna Reply

    I had a 2009 GMC . emvoy the whole hood was up in my face and the air bags did not deploy. My mom broke her shoulder and my 14 year old got a concussion. Myself felt like I had been hit by a train.

  10. Christie Reply

    In 2003 I borrowed my father 1998 GMC Sonoma Pick up to Take my mother and I to my step fathers funeral. On the way to the wake I was involved in a serious accident where my fathers Sonoma was a total loss. The accident not my fault but the truck had serious front end damage and the bed of the truck actually was pushed into the cab of the truck. My mother suffered a broken neck from her head bouncing off the glove box handle that the Sonoma pick ups have. They are more like a long bar across the top of the glove box. She also has numerous spinal injuries where multiple surgeries were required. I was knocked into next week suffering brain trauma. My nose was spilt due to the impact of the steering wheel.
    Numerous witnesses say that I attempted to exit the truck and I collapsed unconscious til paramedics woke me with that stick they put under your nose. I thought Bill Clinton was still president and had no idea where I was at and why mom was with me. I also had numerous neck issues and pain I dealt with for years after and still suffer from. I also fell in to depression with not being able to work or
    do the things I was doing prior to the accident and also not being able to properly
    mourn the loss of my step father due to having to so much physical recovery due to these airbags not deploying. I questioned that from day 2 since day one was
    spent trying to put together bits and pieces of the days events prior to the accident
    My mother has a mesh cage that supports her neck and her spine is held together with rods ,screws and plates that her body is still rejecting. Doctors say she wheel chair bound in the near future. My lawyer said back in 2003 that it would take millions of dollars to make our case against GMC about those airbags not deploying and if it was a recall issue than more people like myself would have the unfortunate event happen, that would end up being a class action lawsuit. He advised me to wait and see. When I called the number for defective airbags that caused shards of plastic to expel upon deploying, the legal secretary told me that I wasn’t alone that they have had hundreds of calls already asking if the suit covered airbags not deploying at all ,she said lawyers are looking into that claim and more than likely a suit would be filed but as far as the current class action suit it was only for people injured or death by shards of plastic and debris upon deploying. So I’m wondering where to go from here? I have all my pictures and reports from the accident stating airbags did not deploy an ect. like medical records
    Thanks
    C.B Roseville Michigan

  11. Lynn Reply

    Sustained traumatic brain injury in accident where airbag did not deploy in 2015 Silverado 1500…my life for the last seven months has been hell. What of it I remember on any given day. Off work five weeks with no pay for lost wages. May lose teaching job because of missing so much work.

  12. Michelle Reply

    I was in an accident sept 2015 I had a 2014 chevy cruz airbags never went off car was totaled out

  13. Stephanie Reply

    Had an accident a few days ago in my 06 Pontiac Pursuit.Car was a write off,and I hit a brick wall so hard they had to repair the wall.Same thing as others have posted..airbag didn’t go off.I live in Canada and will speaking with a lawyer next week.

  14. Jacklyn Reply

    My husband was involved in an accident on 11/5/2016 where he was not at fault. The guy was on his cell phone and not paying attention he pulled right out in front of my husband. He was knocked unconscious. A witness had to put my car in park and turn it off. He has a concussion,a lot of neck injurys missed 3 weeks of work and this is a man who in over 20 plus years of working had never missed a day. The air bag didn’t deploy,the driver wasn’t even the owner of the car they only have liability coverage and to top it all off they are committing insurance fraud but I can’t find an attorney to handle my product liability case at all. So we get to have no car pay for a rental car on our on and will probably have to pay for his therapy ourselves while this jerk and the car manufacturer have nothing happen to them !

  15. John Reply

    1HD accident and Chevy Malibu did not deploy leaving my husband and I with back problems following the accident.

  16. Sereena Reply

    2004 Saturn L300 My son was in a roll over accident exiting off the freeway, hit 2 signs, rolled over a few times, landed in a ditch leaning against a tree. Bumper tore off, All over damage from front to back, side to side, roof and windows, No airbags deployed! :-/

  17. rosemarie Reply

    son-in-law hydro planed and hit a cement wall that seperates east from west traffic, the car was totaled also the airbags did not deploy. 2006 chevy cobalt.

  18. Juanita Reply

    2002 Saturn wagon was invloved in a wreck that a lady hits me in the rear end going 60 while I am at a stop I inturn rear end of car in front of me I bounce and she hits me again and I hit the other car at an angel at such a force that it pushes me out between them and about 59yards further up the road while she hits the other car NONE OF MY AIRBAGS DEPLOYED PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP CAR totAL lost and I have short term memory loss

  19. Barb Reply

    I was hit on the left front of my 2004 Grand Prix Ponitac air bags never went off.I heard on TV that there was a lawsuit going on for this.

  20. Loretta Reply

    Dec 5th 2016 I was stopped at a red light behind a Ram f150 a drunk driver hit me from behind so hard he broke my windows and pushed me under the truck my airbags never deployed my car was a totalled loss I suffer with pain ever since the accident

  21. Tyrone Reply

    I was just in an accident on Sunday in my 2014 Chevy Camaro, I was hit by someone who ran a red light in a GMC Yukon XL, he dragged me along the side median and than knocked me over the
    median strip in to oncoming traffic and no air bags deployed

  22. John Reply

    I was in an accident in a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer in which the airbag did not deploy. This was in 2013. My head went into the windshield, causing a severed temporal artery. Ambulance ride involved, and still have scarring.

  23. Michael Reply

    I was a passenger involved in an accident in a 2001 Buick LeSabre in 2005 for which I suffered neck,back and face injuries .

  24. Jennifer Reply

    How can we contact GM directly?

  25. Joseph Reply

    I hit a ditch in a 2003 GMC Envoy to avoid t-boning a young girl who got the ticket, fractured my skull, broke my nose, fractured my sternum, fractured my pelvis, fractured my vertebrae, fractured my sacrum and lost part of my knee. All because the airbag did not deploy on a front bumper impact at 37 MPH. Does General Motors ever read these complaints? They just are not proactive in caring about people.

  26. Kristie Reply

    Was in a wreck on December 24, 2015 in my 2010 Chevrolet Traverse. Was hit head on by a drunk driver and none of my airbags deployed. Have been airbag light issues since it was purchased. Had it taken in more than once to get it fixed and it was never fixed. Will not EVER purchase another GM vehicle.

  27. jay Reply

    While on my way home from gm’s Wentzville assembly plant in Missouri.I got on the expressway interstateI-70 had road rage problems right away with a big box truck.The truck stayed on my rear end until I had my one car accident 14 miles west of Wentzville.Because of trying not to get hit from box truck I tried to move over and away from truck I moved to the slow lane in an effort to get off on shoulder.When I passed the car on my rightthere was no traffic ahead of him but when I thought it was clear to try and reach the shoulder and stop there were tail lights right in front of me.I tried to get an angle to get off on shoulder and when I thought I had it I tried to slam on my abs. brakes but the car never slowed. I guess it stalled because I had a hard time moving steering wheel.now that car who was in front a second ago was so close I felt I could reach out and touch him.I keep trying the brakes nothing.I tried moving the steering wheel a little and I couldn,t That’s all I remember until I woke up in a hospital 3-weeks later and seeing my wife trying to kiss me and trying to say you were in a coma.you are going to be alright now.I tried to say I was just sleeping.but the words just wouldn,t come out.I just wanted to go back to sleep and I think she said wait till the doctor sees you.I must have wen

  28. Khristina Reply

    I have seen some 2008 Pontiac G6 on the road including mine that has the right side passenger headlight out, so I was wondering and called GM to see if there was a recall for this and was told no. I’ve replaced this way too many times but I can’t do anything about it now because a few days ago, my car went into neutral by itself when I was trying to park my car up the driveway. I couldn’t change the gears to anything! Thankfully, I was already home so I had family come over and help me place it correctly in the driveway so I wasn’t in the way of my neighbors. I can’t drive it and rather not keep it. Let’s just say everything on the internet is not necessarily true, but what resources are available to every individual, I do plan on researching more in the future especially before I make any big purchases again.

  29. David Reply

    Nov 1st I was hit in my 2000 Chevy Suburban in the right front quarter by a car doing 45 mph. Frame bent, car totaled but airbags never deployed. I went to ER and found I had a heart rate of 165 with very high BP, turns out when I hit the steering wheel I got a cardiac contusion which caused atrial fibrillation. Now 30 days later I have to worry about stroke or heart attack and have to take Toprol to slow down my heart. What really sucks is that I have narcolepsy that had been under control with drugs, but had to stop taking them and now I can’t stay awake or do anything, like drive or work. I discovered there was a recall for defective sensor or something that caused airbag not to deploy resulting in more serious injuries. Depression, anxiety, pain and suffering, but no help, no car, no hope….

  30. Bryan Reply

    I was in a wreck in a 2006 impala airbags didn’t deploy my back was hurt and my knee is permanently damaged

  31. Amanda Reply

    Was in an accident in my colbolt front end all shifted to the right. Totaled. air bags never deployed causing the seatbelt to make my back hurt now hurts all the time went to hospital about my back they said nothing had liabilty insurance theres got paid for mine not so lucky i do not own any more

  32. Cary . Reply

    I used to drive a 2002 Oldsmobile intrigue February 12, 2017 my car was in an accident I had the ignition call back done but when I had the accident I hit head on and my airbags did not deploy at all I now have a herniated disc in my back and I got called GMC AND I JUST RECIEVED A LETTER stating that if I didn’t get back to them by May 4, 2018 everything would be drop the letter stated that I didn’t provide them with information from my insurance and the accident report she’s had at least six months to send papers so that they could have the waivers done to look in to my personal information but of course she didn’t send anything for me to sign originally when GM call them they said it would take between 3 to 6 months to investigate I don’t I’ve been waiting for papers to be signed so they could check into the accident They’re just trying to scam out of all faults so they don’t have to pay I know one thing I will never buy a GMC car or truck ever again neither will all my family they’re just trying to scan add up all fault so they don’t have to pay I know one thing I will never buy a GMC car or truck ever again neither will all my family I think they’re all corrupt

  33. Deya Reply

    Travelling southbound on a 4 lane street going 45 mph car ran stop Sign trying to get to middle median lane heading northbound I slammed on brakes but it was to late cause me to T-bone him airbags didn’t deploy at all causing my left shoulder hitting the steering wheel very hard causing shoulder injuries and weakness of my left shoulder

  34. Belinda Reply

    I had an accident in December of 2017. I was hit on the drivers side at a speed of at least 55. The Van hit me close to the driver door. I spun around on the Hwy and was hit several more times while I was spinning around. When the car finally stopped the impact was strong that I hit my head and side of my face really hard on the glass of the driver window. This resulted in expenses to rule out a serious concussion and cracked skull. I had a huge hematoma on my left ear and the jarring of the impact caused excruciating pain for weeks. I thought my ribs were brought. I did go to the ER for treatment. No one airbag deployed during this impact. I honestly believe that if the side door airbag had deployed my injuries would not have been as severe as they were.

  35. Kris Reply

    My mom was in a wreck about 3 weeks ago, she flipped her 1995 GMC truck 3 times, the air bag did NOT deploy. We have a clams rep coming out next week to look at the truck. But we are highly disappointed to read that their are so many issues with the airbags not going off. It’s like gmc does not even care.

  36. Keith Reply

    Can some one help me or have a lawyer who can help me I was in a seriously automotive accident a month a go and my air bags did not deployed I suffer seriously bodily harm I live in Kansas can some one who is willing to handle my case contact me it’s a 2004 Chevy Impala I only had the vehicle four days prior to the ordeal.

  37. linda Reply

    my son18 years old in our 2006 chevolet silverado was in wreck on January 23,2019 he hit a hole in the road entering the interstate. he was hit head on and the air bags didn’t come out so he broke 3 of his bottom teeth. we bought the car new 8miles on it. we never received a recall on the airbags.

  38. Pamela Reply

    Are there still negotiations going on In 2019 or is there a cap on the year a crash would have to of had occurred?

  39. Terri Reply

    How can I collect some compinsation for my 2007 Saturn ion defects. It’s not running and I m scared to drive it because it looses all electric power and d
    Shuts down while driving and I can’t afford to get it fixed. I’m 55 years old and disabled.what can I do?

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