According to an official that is part of the team administering the ignition switch compensation program, General Motors should expect a serious uptick in the number of eligible claims for deaths and injuries linked to the flawed part.
Last February, the No. 1 US automaker – General Motors – announced a recall of 2.6 million older cars – mainly Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions – equipped with a defective ignition switch that could stop the engine mid-driving, cutting the power to essential safety systems, including the airbags. It was later revealed the company had withheld information about the flaw for at least a decade and following subsequent inquiries and the possibility of facing numerous lawsuits, Gm decided to establish a victims’ compensation fund. The number of eligible deaths for compensation have risen to 51 as of January 31, but, according to fund deputy administrator Camille Biros they are “absolutely” going to rise even further as more claims are processed. Additionally, the number of eligible catastrophic injuries and less serious injuries are eight and 69, respectively, she added.
As of Sunday – following a serious uptick in claims in the week before the January 31 deadline – there have been filed 4,180 claims, soaring from a total of 3,068 on Jan. 23, Biros added. Since last Thursday no less than 700 additional claims had been rushed, with January the biggest month for claims filed – totaling more than 1,600 filed. Biros added the number of claims itself could also rise, since they will accept any additional claim that has a time stamp from before the deadline (which was during the weekend).