GM Faulty Ignition Switch Death Toll Rises to 45

Jan 12, 2015 03:00 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

General Motors has received 141 more claims for compensation for ignition switch defects in its vehicles over the past week, which brings the overall total to 2,710, according to an official administrating the automaker's compensation program.

Through January 9, GM has received 303 claims for deaths, 202 for catastrophic injuries and 2,205 for less-serious injuries that required hospitalization, according to Reuters who cited Kenneth Feinberg, an administer hired to run GM's program.

The amount of claims deemed eligible for compensation rose from 100 to 112.

GM's compensation program has found that 45 deaths, seven severe injuries and 60 other injuries were eligible for compensation as well, according to Reuters.

The most recent report said that 320 claims were determined to be ineligible and 738 were still under review. Approximately 757 more lacked sufficient paperwork or evidence needed and 783 had no documentation at all.

The automaker has $400 million set aside to cover costs of compensation for claims deemed eligible on behalf of people injured or killed due to faulty switches in GM vehicles. The total could rise by another $200 million depending on how many claims are deemed eligible.

Families who file a death claim that is cleared by the fund's administrators will receive $1 million for the death claim itself as well as $300,000 payments to surviving spouses and children for restitution.

The GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility started accepting claims back on Aug. 1. The deadline for those looking to file a claim is Jan. 31, 2015.  

GM has been in hot water since early 2014 for waiting 11 years to start recalling millions of vehicles with ignition-switch issues that were linked to fatalities. The switch can slip out of position, causing vehicles to stall and disable air bags.

The defect forced GM to recall 2.6 million vehicles last year. 

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