Sunday 23 October 2016
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GM Ignition Switch Fund Approves 124 Death Claims

GM Ignition Switch Fund Approves 124 Death Claims

Attorneys with General Motors’ ignition compensation fund are nearly finished going through injury claims. Monday, the office for attorney Kenneth Feinberg said it rejected five of the final six injury claims in the yearlong review of more than 4,300 claims of deaths and injuries tied to defective ignition switches.

The switches, which can be knocked out of the “run” position, cutting power to the engine and power steering, were originally linked to 13 deaths. Now that number has climbed to 124 death claims.

The number of injuries linked to the faulty switches meanwhile now stands at 274. Of those, 17 were serious injuries resulting in quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns.

The single remaining “deficient” claim that’s remains under investigation is for a minor injury, which may have required hospitalization or outpatient treatment within 48 hours of the accident.

In all, Feinberg’s office has rejected a total of 3,944 claims, about 91 percent of all claims received by GM.  It has not yet determined the value of some of the deaths and injuries, or made offers to the victims or their survivors, said Camille Biros, the fund’s deputy administrator, last week.

When all cases are closed, GM expects it will have spent $625 million in compensation to those to whom offers have or will be made. It’s already paid out $280 million in claims.

Feinberg administered funds for victims of the 9/11 attacks, Boston Marathon bombing, Virginia Tech shootings, BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill and other tragedies. GM is paying at least $1 million in each death claim and gave Feinberg and his staff the final decision on approving or rejecting all claims. It placed no cap on the amount Feinberg could award, but he is not allowed to assess “punitive” damages.”

Feinberg will release a report this month on the program that is expected to answer some key questions about the program, including why it rejected nine of every 10 claims.

Photo Credit: General Motors