According to the traditional weekly update coming from the office of Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney in charge of GM’s ignition switch victims’ compensation fund, the fatalities linked to the defective part have reached a toll of 84 victims.
General Motors, the largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world, announced last year it was recalling 2.6 million older cars equipped with faulty ignition switches – which could cause an engine stall while driving, cutting power to critical safety systems, such as the airbags. The massive scandal that arose from the fact that the safety campaign was at least a decade late, led to a massive recall tally for the automaker last year and the establishment of a victims’ compensation program, run by outside lawyer Feinberg and his office. There are now 84 victims that died because of the defective ignition switch, for more than it was reported last week. The fund was initiated last August and received applications through January 31, 2015 – a total of 4,342 were filed during the allowed period. The program still has under review another 1,136 applications – so the death and injury tally is expected to rise in the months to come.
Around 30 percent of all claims were deemed ineligible by the manager because the petitioners lacked the necessary evidence or they failed to prove the faulty ignition switch was the primary cause of a person’s death or injury. Besides the 84 fatality cases, the attorneys have found 11 claims to be eligible for compensation after sustaining catastrophic life-changing injuries. Another 146 are eligible for compensation for less severe injuries that still needed hospitalization or outpatient treatments.