GM's ignition-switch deaths climbs to 117

  • AFP, New York
  • Updated: Jun 24, 2015 13:30 IST

The death toll that resulted from defective General Motors ignition switches climbed to 117 in the latest report on apporved damages payouts that was issued from the automaker's independent compensation fund.

When the compensation fund, run by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, was set up nearly a year ago, GM had recognized 13 deaths linked to the ignition-switch flaw.

Sixteen death claims remain under review, the fund said.

GM knew of the ignition problem for more than a decade before it began recalling 2.6 million cars worldwide in February 2014.

The defective switches can cause the ignition to unintentionally switch out of the "on" position, disabling airbags and other functions.

In the latest update, the fund said 354 claims for fatalities and injuries were eligible for compensation out of the total 4,342 claims it had received.

There were at least 13 confirmed cases of crippling injuries, such as brain damage or double amputation, and 27 such claims were still under review.

The number of eligible claims for hospitalization or outpatient medical treatment reached 224, with 36 claims under review.

Claims processing began on August 1, 2014, with the filing deadline set on January 31.

Claimants must waive any rights to litigation related to the ignition-switch defect to receive a payment.

GM will pay a minimum $1 million in death compensation, $300,000 for the surviving spouse and another $300,000 for each surviving dependent.

Financial and medical treatment compensation of at least $20,000 will also be offered to those with eligible physical injury claims from an accident.

GM faces a number of probes over its long-delayed recall, including by the Justice Department, Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as numerous lawsuits.

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