The GM ignition switch compensation plan

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The GM ignition switch compensation plan
Family members of a victims of a faulty GM ignition switch places photographs of the people killed when the ignition switches failed in their cars, on a wall in the hearing room on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, where General Motors CEO Mary Barra and former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, investigator, Jenner & Block, testified before the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing examining the facts and circumstances that contributed to General Motors’ failure to identify a safety defect in certain ignition switches and initiate a recall in a timely manner. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
A family member of a victims of a faulty GM ignition switch places a photograph on a wall in the hearing room on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, where General Motors CEO Mary Barra and former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, investigator, Jenner & Block, testified before the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing examining the facts and circumstances that contributed to General Motors’ failure to identify a safety defect in certain ignition switches and initiate a recall in a timely manner. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
House Energy Oversight and Investigations subcommittee member Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, holds up a copy of former US Attorney Anton Valukas' report to the board of GM on their ignition switch faults as he questions General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Valukas, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, during the subcommittee's hearing examining the facts and circumstances that contributed to General Motors’ failure to identify a safety defect in certain ignition switches and initiate a recall in a timely manner. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Family members and people who lost loved ones due to accidents caused by a defective ignition switch in General Motors Co. cars, place photos in a hearing room before a U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Gm Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra returned to Congress 11 weeks after failing to satisfy some lawmakers about why GM didn't act sooner to fix a defective ignition switch in 2.59 million cars that has been blamed for 13 deaths. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Family members and people who lost loved ones due to accidents caused by a defective ignition switch in General Motors Co. cars, wait to hear testimony from Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co., amd Anton Valukas, the former U.S. attorney hired by GM to lead an internal investigation, at a U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Barra returned to Congress 11 weeks after failing to satisfy some lawmakers about why GM didn't act sooner to fix a defective ignition switch in 2.59 million cars that has been blamed for 13 deaths. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: General Motors CEO Mary Barra (L), and Anton Valukas, head of GM's internal recall investigation, field questions while testifying during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on GM's internal recall investigation and how the company is changing to prevent another safety crisis similar to its deadly delay in recalling millions of defective cars. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: General Motors CEO Mary Barra talks to the media after appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill on June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on GM's internal recall investigation and how the company is changing to prevent another safety crisis similar to its deadly delay in recalling millions of defective cars. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: General Motors CEO Mary Barra talks to the media after appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill on June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on GM's internal recall investigation and how the company is changing to prevent another safety crisis similar to its deadly delay in recalling millions of defective cars. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: Pictures of people killed in GM cars with defected key switches, were put on a ledge by family members while General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on GM's internal recall investigation and how the company is changing to prevent another safety crisis similar to its deadly delay in recalling millions of defective cars. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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General Motors Co. has hired Kenneth Feinberg, the nation's most well-known compensation expert, to pay people harmed in crashes caused by faulty ignition switches in older-model small cars. GM says it's trying to do the right thing by making the payments. The company says at least 54 crashes and 13 deaths were caused by the problem, but lawyers and lawmakers say there will be hundreds of claims. GM is recalling 2.6 million small cars from 2003-2011 due to the problem. Feinberg says there's no limit to the total amount he can pay, and GM can't overrule his decisions.

Here are details of the compensation plan announced by Feinberg on Monday:

WHO'S ELIGIBLE: Relatives of those killed in crashes. Drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and people in other cars involved in crashes with the GM vehicles who suffered serious physical injuries or relatives of people killed in crashes.

DEADLINE: People can begin applying for compensation Aug. 1. The deadline for filing a claim is Dec. 31. Feinberg expects most claims to be processed in 90 to 180 days.

COMPENSATION LIMITS: None for deaths or extreme injuries such as permanent brain damage, loss of limbs, paralysis and serious burns. Less serious injuries are limited by formulas similar to what Feinberg used to compensate those injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. People can get quick settlements based on formulas for death and extreme injuries, or they can try to prove to Feinberg that they should get more money by proving extraordinary circumstances. Feinberg says GM has placed no limit on the total he can spend. Lawyers say it will be in the billions.

BURDEN OF PROOF: Those filing claims must show that their crashes were caused by faulty GM small-car ignition switches. The switches can unexpectedly slip from "run" to "accessory," shutting off the engines and causing loss of power steering and brakes. The air bags also are disabled. Those injured in frontal crashes in which air bags did not deploy are likely to get compensation. Frontal crashes without air bag deployment are not eligible because it's unlikely the switch caused the crash if the air bags worked.

RIGHT TO SUE: Those who settle with Feinberg give up their right to sue.

AFFECTED MODELS: About 2.6 million small cars worldwide, including the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5; 2003-2007 Saturn Ion; and 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, and any newer models from 2008-2011 that got the switches as replacement parts.

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