Kenneth Feinberg and General Motors have announced the long-awaited compensation plan for victims of the Detroit-based manufacturer's botched ignition switch recall.
The compensation plan will be open to family members of anyone that was killed or injured due to ignition switch failure. That includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other motorists that were killed or seriously injured in the incidents. While GM acknowledges 13 deaths and 54 crashes, the actual number of claims is expected to be much higher.
Plaintiffs can begin filing claims on August 1 with an end date of December 31. According to the Associated Press, Feinberg is expecting claims to be completed in 90 to 180 days.
As for the size of the compensation, there is no limit for deaths or extreme injuries (brain damage, loss of limb, paralysis or severe burns). Lesser injuries will come with smaller compensation, with Feinberg expecting to use the formulae and scale used for the Boston Marathon bombing compensation plan. General Motors, for its part, hasn't placed a limit on how much money Feinberg has at his disposal and the company is unable to overrule any of his decisions.
This won't be a free-for-all, though. The burden of proof is on the claimants, who must show that their crash was due to the faulty ignition switch. That even includes drivers that were drunk or speeding, who will not be prevented from filing for compensation.
Finally, those that choose to settle with Feinberg surrender their right to sue GM at a later date.
General Motors' CEO Mary Barra issued the following statement after the unveiling of Feinberg's plan:
We've reached out to General Motors for an any additional information and will update this story as it becomes available.
"We are pleased that Mr. Feinberg has completed the next step with our ignition switch compensation program to help victims and their families. We are taking responsibility for what has happened by treating them with compassion, decency and fairness. To that end, we are looking forward to Mr. Feinberg handling claims in a fair and expeditious manner."
UPDATE: A previous version of this story indicated that the filing status of drivers that were drunk or weren't wearing a seat belt was uncertain. It has since been revealed that these drivers will not be prevented from filing for compensation, provided they're able to provide evidence of ignition failure. The story has been edited to reflect this.