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Wrongful death settlements present opportunities and challenges

Countless California residents are involved in serious car accidents every day, many of which through no fault of their own. In such cases, accident victims and their families may be entitled to compensation and must make important decisions regarding whether and how to pursue legal action against liable parties. Settling wrongful death claims out of court is a legal option that should be considered with a great deal of care.

In determining the amount of compensation that wrongful death claimants can receive from a victim’s fund recently established by General Motors to address cases involving the mass recall of millions of vehicles, the man charged with establishing and managing the program explained that a set formula will be used. Figures established by the U. S. Bureau of Labor will be implemented in the equation, along with other factors such as the claimant’s income and age, and the arbitrator made a point to say that there would be no cap on award amounts. Similarly, people who were involved in accidents with recalled vehicles may be eligible for compensation under the settlement plan as well.

In the U. S. alone, GM recalled over 2 million vehicles earlier this year to remove faulty ignition switches linked to serious malfunctions like the disabling of airbags. As a result, the failed deployment of an airbag in a crash is the key qualification for possible compensation under the fund. Beyond that, driver negligence will not be a factor in determining eligibility.

Agreeing to the terms of a personal injury settlement typically prohibits claimants from pursuing litigation over the same issue again. People can meet with an experienced attorney to discuss their case and decide whether or not reaching a settlement is the most appropriate option for them.

Source: USA Today, “Arbitrator: There’ll be no cap on payments to GM victims,” James R. Healey, June 30, 2014

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