GM ignition switch death count now at 121 image

According to the General Motors ignition switch compensation fund, a total of 121 death claims – two more since the past weekly update – have been approved, with the fund’s quest nearing its end now.

The fund has been established last year by General Motors, the largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world, after the company revealed it had waited around a decade to issue a recall of 2.6 million autos equipped with defective ignition switches. The faulty part could turn the engine off while driving, cutting power to critical safety systems, including the airbags. While the carmaker itself only acknowledged 13 fatalities related to the defect, the subsequent pressure from consumers and regulators made it establish the compensation program, with outside lawyer Kenneth Feinberg running it with discretionary powers. Besides the two approved death claims, the fund has also approved another eight new injury claims, for a tally of 243 injuries. Of the latter, 14 are for serious, life changing injuries and 237 for less severe injuries.

The fund is drawing to a close on its almost one year-old review of claims for ignition fatalities and injuries, with just 76 of the 4,342 claims submitted still under review. The fund’s Deputy Administrator, Camille Biros, recently announced they expect to finish their investigations by the end of the month. GM will be paying at least one million dollars for each fatality claim, more if the victim had dependants and has already set aside $550 million to pay them. Biros added the fund has already made 276 compensation offers, with 205 accepted and only six rejected.