GM compensation program approves two new death claims, climbs to 29

Article by Andrew Christian, on October 22, 2014

Two new death claims tied to the defective ignition switch in General Motors cars were recently approved by the program created to compensate victims. With the latest additions, the total number of death linked to the faulty switches is now 29, as of October 18, 2014.

According to the report by the office of lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, a former attorney general hired by GM to manage the program, they have received 1,517 claims for deaths and injuries since commencing it on August 1. This represents an 11-percent jump in received claims from a week ago. So far, 56 claims have been deemed eligible for compensation, including the 29 deaths and 27 injuries, the report showed.

The number of death claims surged by six to 184, while there is a continued rise in the number of claims for less-serious injuries -- those requiring hospitalization yet does not result to serious permanent damage -- from 1,108 to 1,240. The office of Feinberg will receive claims until Dec. 31, 2014, on behalf of persons injured or killed in accidents tied to the defective ignition switches.

GM has been under fire for delaying its response to the ignition switch problems by around a decade. The switch could shift out of position, thereby stalling the vehicle and disabling air bags. GM has given Feinberg a free hand to determine how claimants could be eligible for approval in the program.

The carmaker has already set aside around $400 million to cover the claims compensation, although it has not set a limit on how much it would be willing to pay.

For those approved by the program, they could receive at least $1 million, depending on whether the deceased had any dependents or any other "extraordinary circumstances" applied. Feinberg's office will make cash offers to the eligible claimants. So far, the office has made 31 offers, with 20 families accepting them.

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