US: GM ignition switch death count now at 111 image

The lawyer in charge of General Motors’ ignition switch compensation fund has said that since the last weekly report on the claims the death toll linked to the automaker’s fatal ignition switch flaw has gone up by two cases to 111.

The claimants had until January 31 to file the proper paper work and the compensation program led by outside attorney Kenneth Feinberg and his office has received a total of 4, 342 claims – of which around four percent have not been reviewed yet. Last year General Motors, the largest US automaker, initiated the recall of 2.6 million autos equipped with defective ignition switches – the subsequent scandal and investigations revealed the company was late in triggering the safety campaign by at least a decade, so the firm quickly established a victims’ compensation fund to resolve off-court claims. GM hired Ken Feinberg and gave him total control over the fund, with the attorney offering at least one million in each fatality case (more if the victim had dependants). The fund has also acknowledged the claims of 220 people who suffered major or minor injuries in crashes triggered by the switches.

Of the 4,342 claims the fund received by the time the deadline had expired on January 31, the fund still has under review around four percent and already deemed deficient or ineligible around 88 percent of them. The automaker has been under review by numerous US authorities, with prosecutors of the Justice Department also running a criminal case against the company, for holding on to details of the recall for more than a decade.