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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 30th, 2014
06:12 PM ET

Lawyer: GM victims' compensation 'will be in the multi-millions of dollars'

(CNN) – General Motors offered at least $1 million Monday to the families of those who died as a result of a faulty ignition switch in GM cars, giving another $300,000 for each surviving spouse and dependent, as well as a sum of money that will be determined by the victims' earning potential.

GM's official death tally attributed to the defect was 13; the car maker only counted those killed in the front seat when the air bags did not deploy.

But attorney Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator for GM's compensation fund, is also counting backseat passengers, people killed in side-impact accidents, and others.

"If there's an accident attributable to an ignition switch, then it's not only the driver that has a viable claim, it's any passengers in the automobile, it's pedestrians, it is the occupants of a second vehicle that collided with the defective vehicle," said Feinberg.

"All of those other potential claimants are covered by this program," Feinberg said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

GM said that it will not cap the total amount of money it will pay to the compensation fund.

"The awards are going to be in the multi-millions of dollars," said Feinberg.

Feinberg devised compensation plans for victims after 9/11, the BP oil spill, and the Boston Marathon bombings. The GM defect poses a challenge because there are many potential old claims, he said.

"So many of these accidents occurred so long ago, that reconstructing what happened in a way that will be fair will be a challenge," he said.

The cars of old accidents will be gone, so Feinberg's team will be looking through data from the car, police reports, insurance and investigative reports, and photos.

"We'll be looking at the totality of the evidence in an effort to do right by these victims," he said.


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