According to the attorney in charge of oversight over GM’s ignition switch victims’ compensation program, the death toll related to the defective part in a 2.6 million recall of 2014 has now surged by 7 to 64 fatalities.

Last year the first major safety scandal in the United States involved General Motors and its failure to recall 2.6 million cars equipped with potentially fatal ignition switches that stopped the car’s engine mid-driving and cut power to critical safety systems, including airbags. The ensuing scandal dented the automaker’s image, prompted numerous investigations from regulators and even a criminal probe and led to an unprecedented number of recalls. Additionally, the company established a victims’ compensation fund led by experienced attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who had prior experience after leading the 9/11 and 2010 BP oil spill compensation efforts. His office, in charge of the GM fund, has so far approved 64 fatality claims and another 108 injury claims as of March 6. While the deadline for submitting claims has passed (it was January 31), the office accepted claims postmarked by that date and because of the large amount of claims we could see weekly updates well into spring or early summer.

Persons seeking compensation from the fund need to prove the airbags failed to deploy and the flawed ignition switch was the primary source of the crash. So far, Feinberg’s office received 4,343 claims, with 172 deemed eligible so far and another 1,571 still under consideration. GM’s rough estimates so far have put Feinberg’s program paying around $400 to $600 million in the end.

Via Automotive News



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