The number of deaths linked to faulty ignition switches in GM vehicles has risen to 107, according to The Detroit Bureau. Furthermore, U.S. prosecutors have reportedly decided GM may be criminally responsible for waiting over 10 years to issue a recall.
So, in addition to compensating victims and their families one million dollars apiece (roughly $500 million have been set aside to cover claims), GM may have to pay some hefty fines.
The potential criminal investigation is reminiscent of the one the U.S. Justice Department undertook in 2009 following disclosure of Toyota’s problems with unintended acceleration. The Japanese automaker ended up paying fines totalling $1.2 billion. However, unlike Toyota, GM made an effort to acknowledge the problem and work with the federal government.
Let's remind you that people who suffered injuries or losses prior to GM's bankruptcy in 2009 no longer have legal recourse for financial compensation. But if an investigation finds that GM deliberately hid the ignition switch problem during the process of filing for Chapter 11, things could change.