Claims to GM Compensation Fund Reach 4,237

Feb 09, 2015 02:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

After another 57 claims for injury and death compensation were received this week, the General Motors fund for victims has counted 4,237 claims altogether, 131 of which have been deemed eligible so far.

GM's fund has received 462 claims for death, 282 for catastrophic injuries and 3,493 for less-serious injuries, Reuters reported.

Still recovering from a devastating year of recalls for faulty vehicles, the automaker has set aside an initial $400 million to provide monetary restitution to those injured and the families of those killed in GM vehicles. The figure could increase depending on how many claims are found to be eligible.

For the 131 claims deemed eligible so far, 52 are compensation for deaths, eight are for serious injuries and 71 are for other injuries, as decided by high-profile attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who is directing the fund.

In his report, Feinberg said that 501 claims have been deemed ineligible; 1,016 did not provide sufficient paperwork or evidence; and 1,446 had no documentation at all. Following a rush of last-minute claims leading up to the Jan. 31 deadline, 1,143 claims are still under review.

GM recalled around 2.59 million small cars early last year after reports that the vehicles could shut off while driving. Faulty ignition switches could turn off the engine and simultaneously disable the air bags.

The number of deaths found eligible for compensation has far outweighed GM's initial estimate due to Feinberg's methods. The automaker's predicted figure was based on "definitive proof" instead of circumstantial evidence.

"GM took the approach of a strict engineering standard," Feinberg's associate Camille Biros said. "We looked at everything and we were more flexible. We looked at photographs, police reports and historical maintenance records. So if there was a history of problems and in the accident the air bags didn't deploy, we leaned toward paying the claims."

The claim review process will continue "well into the spring," Feinberg told Bloomberg last month.

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