The GM ignition-switch victims’ fund is officially closed. General Motors held fast to its January 31st claim deadline, despite requests by two lawmakers to extend it. The number of people killed in accidents due to the faulty switches now stands at 51, with thousands more claims still to evaluate.
The GM fund accepted applications through Saturday, even though Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra asking for the submission window to be extended.
“Right now, injured parties do not know enough about their legal rights or facts to make an informed decision,” the senators wrote Jan. 28 in a letter to GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra. “They cannot have sufficient information until the DOJ concludes its criminal investigation and the bankruptcy court decides whether to lift the liability shield that GM now unjustifiably hides behind.”
The company rejected the recommendation, noting that the deadline has already been extended once. Applicants have been given six months to file claims since the fund began accepting submissions in August.
“We have conducted extensive outreach about the program and contacted more than 5 million current and former owners of the recalled vehicles,” the automaker said in a statement published by Reuters.
The original deadline had been Dec. 31 for filing claims and GM had extended it to Jan. 31.