General Motors Ignition Switch Death Toll Rises to 77

Apr 01, 2015 01:29 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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General Motors' ignition switch compensation fund approved three more claims linked to defective ignition switches found in 2.6 million recalled vehicles, raising the current total to 77 deaths.

The most recent claims were approved by GM's Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution, which is run by attorney Ken Feinberg.

The deadline to file claims was extended from Dec. 31, 2014 to Jan. 31, 2015. New claims can no longer be submitted though Feinberg and his team are still reviewing previously filed claims.

The number of approved claims total hit 57 by the end of February before reaching 64 a few weeks ago. As of March 27 the compensation program approved of 74 deaths linked to faulty switches.

The latest GM ignition switch claims report was released on March 27.

So far, the compensation fund has received 4,342, including 475 death claims, 289 "Category One" injury claims and 3,578 "Category Two" injury claims.

Category One claims are those resulting in Quadriplegia, Paraplegia, Double Amputation, Permanent Brain Damage or Pervasive Burns. Category Two claims are injuries that required a hospital visit within 48 hours of an accident.

The claims resolution facility's program statistics report says 218 claims have been determined eligible, including 77 death claims, 11 Category One injury claims and 130 Category Two claims. Approximately 1,173 claims have been determined ineligible.

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.

Financial and medical treatment will also be offered to those with eligible physical injuries from an accident linked to recall cars, according to AFP.

GM has not placed a cap on the amount Feinberg can spend to provide restitution.

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