General Motors’ compensation fund has tied at least 51 deaths and 8 catastrophic injuries to the ignition-switch defect found in its cars. That number is expected to rise as the compensation fund reviews the final batch of claims related to the defective ignition switches in older-model Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn ions, and other small cars.
As January 31st was the deadline to make a claim, there was a last-minute surge of submissions. According to The Detroit News, GM reported on the fund’s progress in a regulatory filing it made this week.
The fund has received 4,180 claims since it began accepting claims in August 2014, including 1,100 in the final week alone. To date, 482 of the claims have been rejected, mostly because the cars involved were not covered by the program or because the air bags in those accidents worked as designed. Reportedly, 455 claims involved a death. So far, 51 payments for deaths and 8 for catastrophic injuries have been approved. The deputy administrator of the fund says the fund will likely be processing claims until the end of spring.
While the work of the compensation fund continues, GM still faces 104 individual lawsuits alleging injury or death as a result of the defects, and 108 class-action lawsuits alleging economic harm. Too, GM remains under state and federal criminal investigation for delaying the recall of 2.6 million affected vehicles.
“Claims surge at deadline for GM ignition-switch compensation fund”, Washington Post, Feb 2, 2015
“GM: $93M paid so far from compensation fund”, Detroit News, Feb 4, 2015″
“GM Recall Compensation Fund: 4K Claims, 93 Settlement Offers So Far”, blogs.findlaw.com, Feb 4, 2015.