US: GM ignition switch fund death tally stops at 124 image

According to the victims’ compensation fund set up because of the GM ignition switch recall disaster, the flawed component was responsible for a total of 124 fatalities and 266 injuries.

Back in February 2014, GM, the largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world, announced it was recalling 2.6 million older cars, mostly Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, because of defective ignition switches. They could jar out of the run position, stopping the engine and thus cutting power to the crucial safety systems, including airbags. It was also revealed the company had known about the flaw for at least a decade. The automaker established an independently run fund, headed by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was also implicated in similar proceeds after the 9/11 terror attacks and the 2010 BP oil spill. The fund announced Monday it had finished sifting through the 4,342 claims it gathered by the January 31 deadline, with around 80 percent deemed ineligible and 453 deficient. The victims’ families that had a fatality case were offered compensation starting at one million dollars each, more if the victims’ had dependants.

According to Camille Biros, the program’s deputy administrator, the fund has so far issued 280 compensation offers, with 209 already accepted and just six rejected. She added that people that filled deficient claims still have until July 31 to bring supporting documents – of the tally, 24 allege the switches lead to a death, the rest to injuries. Before March 31, GM has already used $200 million to settle claims filed with Feinberg’s program, with the company seeing $600 million as a target for total compensation.