Yesterday the program designed to compensate the victims of accidents linked to GM’ ignition switch defect issued its weekly update, in which the fatalities toll has risen again, to 29.
The office of Kenneth Feinberg has issued the report, the outside lawyer entrusted by GM to oversee the compensation fund. A former US attorney, Feinberg is famous for running several other victims’ compensation programs, including the one for the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks or the 2010 BP oil spill.
General Motors back in February issued a recall that would span 2.6 million cars, mostly older Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, because of a defective ignition switch that could cut the engine mid-driving – causing a potentially catastrophic loss of power to critical safety systems. Following the public panning, numerous lawsuits and intense federal scrutiny, GM has started a victims’ compensation fund – setting aside so far around $600 million.
The program started accepting claims on August 1 and would cease accepting entries on December 31. The toll so far has reached 1,517 claims for deaths and injuries, as of Friday. 56 claims have been approved so far, including the 29 fatality cases. Last week, the overall number of claims was up from 1,371, with six new death claims (a total of 184) and a surge in claims for less-serious injuries. These claims, which climbed from 1,108 to 1,240, come from people that needed hospitalization but in the end didn’t cause any serious or permanent damage.