May 7, 2003
Victims of GM C/K pickup truck crashes have been awarded at least $495 million, averaging to be over $1.6 million per case. The GM pickup trucks had fuel tanks that were mounted outside of the protective frames, which the victims claimed made them more likely to explode in auto accidents. Before GM changed the trucks fuel tank design, there were more than 9 million of the GM pickups with fuel tanks outside the frame produced from 1973-1987.
The federal judge decided to release the GM exhibit, a move considered rare. Included in the exhibit was information saying, There have been 297 settlements of lawsuits and claims involving 1973-1987 C/K pickup trucks which resulted in 331 individual settlement agreements. The total amount paid in settlement to date is $495,076,104. This yields an average of $1,495,698 per individual settlement, or $1,666,923 per lawsuit/claim. According to the GM spokesman, he believed GM lawyers tried to reach an emergency stay so that the exhibit would remain sealed in order to challenge the ruling before the appeals court but that he was unsure of if GM would appeal since the document was released.