GM Ignition-Switch Defect Now Linked to at Least 21 Deaths

Ignition assembly of GM vehicleGM has establish a Voluntary Compensation Fund for victims of the defective ignition switch in GM vehicles. The program is intended to cover victims killed or seriously injured when the airbag failed to deploy because a defect in the ignition switch causes the vehicle to stall, disabling air bags.

The program was launched on August 5, 2014. According to a report from Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the fund, 21 deaths and 16 claims of serious injures have been determined eligible for compensation from the fund. As of Friday, September 19th, 143 death claims have been received. A recent article from Reuters disclosed that $400 million has been set aside by GM to cover compensation costs for the victims of the recalled ignition switch.

Based on Feinberg’s announcement outlining the details of the compensation fund, the deadline for submitting claims is December 31, 2014. The full text of the announcement is available at www.GMIgnitionCompensation.com

For more information about the ignition defect and the vehicles covered by the recall see the GM Ignition Recall Safety Information  website and the NHTSA Consumer Alert.

Chrysler Recalls Jeep Sport Utility Vehicle Due to Airbag Defect

Jeep Grand CherokeeAccording to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Chrysler has announced a recall of 744,822 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs due to a defective airbag control module. A component within the module may fail and cause the front, side curtain air bags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy during normal operation of the vehicle. “Inadvertent deployment of the airbags may increase the risk of injury and the possibility of a vehicle crash.” The recall pertains to model years 2002 through 2004.

The NHTSA investigation of this problem has revealed 215 cases where the airbags inflated inadvertantly, resulting 81 minor injuries.

Chrysler plans to correct the problem by installing a supplemental jumper harness to the control module, at no cost to the vehicle owner. The recall is anticipated to begin in January 2013. Owners of 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty SUVs who have questions should contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753 and reference recall #M35. Owners may also contact the NHTSA hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or visit safercar.gov and enter NHTSA ID No. 12V527000.