General Motors Ignition Switch Death Toll Rises to 97

May 05, 2015 07:39 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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General Motors has approved of seven more death claims linked to faulty ignition switches found in GM cars, raising the overall total to 97 deaths.

Originally GM said 13 deaths were linked to the issue, but that number has continued to rise ever since the Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility was founded late last summer.

The office of attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who GM hired to oversee the compensation fund, also approved of 16 more injury claims bringing the total to 179 approved as of May 1, according to General Motors.

The number of "Category One" injury claims increased to 12 this week while the amount of "Category Two" claims jumped from 152 to 167, according to the latest report. "Category One" claims cover those who suffered a life-changing injury as a result of the faulty switches, whereas "Category Two" claims are for injuries requiring hospitalization within 48 hours after an accident.

So far, approximately 130 compensation offers have been accepted and five have been rejected. Those who accept a compensation offer waive their right to sue GM.

The deadline to file a claim to GM was extended from December to January 31 so that victims would have plenty of time to file with Feinberg's office.

The compensation fund received approximately 4,342 claims before the January deadline and 15 percent are still under review. Feinberg has said publicly that he would like to finish providing compensation by this fall.

In 2014, General Motors recalled 30 million cars, 2.6 million of which contained faulty ignition switches.

GM has about $500 million set aside to cover compensation costs on behalf of those who were injured or killed as a result of the faulty switches, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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