Death Toll From GM Ignition Switch Defect Reaches 57

Feb 24, 2015 09:30 AM EST | Matt Mercuro

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General Motors has received an approximately 33 claims for compensation for ignition switch defects in its vehicles this past week.

The additional claims brings the overall total to 4,345, according to the administrator of the company's program to Reuters.

A report from lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, hired by GM to administer the program, says that through GM has received 479 claims for death, 292 for catastrophic injuries and 3,574 for less-serious injuries requiring hospitalization.

The number of claims so far found to be eligible for compensation has reached 151 and 666 claims have been deemed ineligible. Approximately 1,457 are under review still.

Feinberg has determined that 57 deaths, nine severe injuries and 85 other injuries are eligible for compensations so far, according to the report.

An additional 1,104 claims lacked sufficient paperwork or evidence to be deemed eligible and 967 had no documentation at all.

GM set up the fund to compensate those injured and the families of those killed in 2.59 million recalled GM vehicles with potentially faulty ignitions witches that could shut off the engine and disable power steering and air bags.

Jan. 31 was the deadline for filing claims, but any claims postmarked by that date are eligible for review.

Around $400 million was set aside last year by GM to cover its costs of compensation for claims on behalf of those who were injured or killed as a result of the faulty switches. The amount could grow to $600 million.

GM has not placed a cap on the amount of money Feinberg can spend, and as of last year he had paid out $93 million in claims, according to GM's annual report.

Fienberg's office believes that it could take until late spring to sort through all the claims.

Those who agree to payments give up their rights to sue GM.

So far, GM faces 104 wrongful death and injury lawsuits due to the faculty ignition switches, along with 108 class-action lawsuits claiming that the faulty switch reduced the value of customers' trucks and cars.

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