GM ignition switch death toll rises to 117 image

General Motors ignition switch compensation fund, headed by outside attorney Kenneth Feinberg, recently announced that over the past week another three fatality claims have been approved for compensation, raising the toll to 117 cases.

The fund, which has uncapped compensation power and is being headed by outside lawyer Ken Feinberg has also announced the approval of another eight injury claims, with the total number of approved injury cases now standing at 237. Of those, 13 are for serious, life-changing injuries and 216 for less severe ones, which still required hospital or treatment time. The almost year-old review of ignition switch death and injury claims is nearing the end of its task, with only 79 of the total of 4,342 claims submitted – or 1.8 percent – still being reviewed. The fund announced it forecasts the completion of its work by the end of July. General Motors, the largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world, has already set aside $550 million for the fund and will pay at least one million dollars for each approved death claim – even more if the victim had dependants.

According to the fund’s deputy administrator, Camile Biros, the program has already made 247 compensation offers, with 190 accepted, six rejected and the rest still under review. GM established the ignition switch fund after the recall last year in February of 2.6 million older autos equipped with defective ignition switches that could be jarred out of the run position, shutting down the engine and cutting power to critical safety systems such as the airbags. GM’s own findings only accepted 13 deaths and the company was panned for waiting at least a decade before recalling the vehicles.