GM Recall: Two More Ignition Switch Deaths Eligible for Compensation

Dec 09, 2014 09:00 AM EST | Matt Mercuro

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Claims determined eligible for compensation from faulty ignition switch in General Motors cars now include two more deaths attributed to the defective part, according to a company report filed on Monday.

The program has received 2,262 claims for injuries and deaths, as of Monday, according to the report from the lawyer hired to oversee the program to compensate for accidents and deaths linked to the part.

The program, which started accepting claims on Aug. 1, said they received 15 claims from a week earlier.

GM has been criticized all year for waiting 11 years to start recalling millions of vehicles with ignition-switch issues that have been linked to fatalities.

There is a chance that switches can slip out of position, which can cause vehicles to stall and air bags to become disabled.  The defect led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles earlier this year.

Thirty-eight deaths have now been approved as eligible for payments, at press time. This is up from 36 previously confirmed by the office of lawyer Kenneth Feinberg.

GM decided to hire Feinberg, who ran the victim compensation funds for the Sept. 11 attacks and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, to deal with the out-of-court compensation program. The compensation fund was decided on by GM to pay claims on behalf of people injured or killed due to the switch.

Feinberg was given free rein to decide who to compensate and GM will not challenge his decisions.

So far, Feinberg has received 239 claims for deaths, 150 for "catastrophic" injuries and 1,873 for less-serious injuries requiring hospitalization. Of those, 38 deaths, six severe injuries and 45 other injuries have been deemed eligible for the program.

The report confirmed that 265 claims were deemed ineligible while 396 are still under "review." More than 500 claims didn't have sufficient paperwork or evidence to receive compensation and 986 had no documentation at all.

Last month, GM agreed to extend the deadline from Dec. 31 to Jan. 31, 2015.

GM has set aside at least $400 million to cover its costs, and the amount of compensation has not been capped.

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