GM Owners Claim 100 Deaths Due to Faulty Ignition Switches

Aug 26, 2014 03:08 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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General Motors owners have filed around 100 claims alleging that loved ones were killed in connection with a recall for 2.6 million GM small cars.

Additionally, 184 claims for injuries have been received by the GM compensation fund as of Friday, Kenneth Feinberg spokeswoman Amy Weiss told the Detroit Free Press in an email. Feinberg, who is an attorney known for assisting with high-profile cases such as the 9/11 attacks and the Virginia Tech shootings, is administrating the victim compensation fund.

The claimants will have to provide evidence that the faulty ignition switch installed in certain GM vehicles was at fault.  

Simpler claims should be resolved within 90 days, while more complicated applications will take around 180 days to process. Decisions will be made once fund administrators determine if award applications are "substantially complete."

GM has put aside $400 million to cover restitution to those injured and the families of those killed in its vehicles; however, the automaker has said the amount needed could increase to as much as $600 million.

The ignition switches have been connected with at least 54 crashes and 13 deaths in about the last 10 years. The models equipped with the faulty part included mostly 2003-'07 Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions, Pontiac G5s, Chevrolet HHRs, Pontiac Solstices and Saturn Skys.

GM has agreed to pay a $35 million federal fine and is also still under criminal investigation from the Justice Department due to evidence that GM employees were aware of the problematic ignition switch long before the cars were recalled.  

In the wake of the devastating small car recall earlier this year, GM has fired 15 employees and recalled some 26 million vehicles in the U.S.

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