Here’s our weekly report about the status of GM’s ignition switch victims compensation fund. Since last week, claims related to deaths or injuries have risen 30% to 1, 130, according to an update provided by the office of the lawyer in charge of the program.
General Motors has so far set aside $400 million (and later added it could bring in another $200 million) for the victims compensation fund initiated after the scandalous 2.6 million cars recall concerning vehicles (mostly older Saturn Ions and Chevrolet Cobalts) with defective ignition switches.
The company has subsequently hired lawyer Kenneth Feinberg – who previously managed such funds, including one assisting the victims of the September 11 terror attacks and the 2010 BP oil spill – to oversee the fund as an outside supervisor. Since August 1, when the fund started accepting claims, the number of claims deemed eligible has reached 24 fatalities and 16 serious injuries (up one death since last week).
Less serious injuries claims – requiring hospitalization, but without permanent damage – have seen the steepest climb last week, up to 886 from 644. Naturally, the less serious injury claims would be compensated far less than those for serious injury or deaths. So far, we know that death victims’ families would receive at least $1 million, and the figure could rise abruptly if the victim had dependants.
While the automaker officially acknowledged only 13 deaths (and an unknown number of serious injuries), from the initial update of the program no less than 19 death claims were deemed eligible by Feinberg’s office. Before the start of the week a total of 165 death claims have been filed, up from 153 two weeks ago.