General Motors Company (GM) Not Solely Culpable for Ignition Failings: House Report

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) isn’t the only company that needs to shoulder some of the blame for the sometimes tragic results caused by defects present in their ignition switches. As Brittany Umar reported today on The Street, according to the House Energy and Commerce committee, the NHTSA was also lax in their duties, which allowed the problem in General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s vehicles to go undetected for years.

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“A congressional report is placing blame on federal auto safety regulators for failing to identify the General Motors ignition switch defect that resulted in at least 19 deaths. In the new report, the House Energy and Commerce committee says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had ample information to identify a potential safety defect as early as 2007,” Umar said.

Tim Murphy, the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee was quoted as saying that the NHTSA was guilty of a lack of accountability, a poor understanding of the General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s vehicles they were tasked with investigating, and improper sharing of information. It’s believed the NHTSA had enough information to detect the defects as far back as 2007, but failed to do so.

The figure of 19 deaths reported by Umar, which is already six higher than the total General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) ever admitted to, is only those claims which have been approved thus far by General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s compensation fund, being overseen by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg. They have now received claims involving 131 deaths, and more continue to pour in by the day. Overall claims are now up to 482, of which just 31 have approved thus far.

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has estimated they will pay out between $400 million and $600 million total in compensation, and have set aside $400 million for now to cover the low end of their expected obligations. Compensation for fatalities begins at $1 million, plus additional payments for spouses, dependents , and estimations of future earnings.

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