GM Ignition Switch Death Count Increases to 52

Feinberg sorting through last-minute flood of claims.

by on Feb.10, 2015

The number of deaths related to GM's faulty ignition switches rose to 52.

Despite the passing of the Jan. 31 deadline to file claims, the number of claims – and deaths – associated with General Motors’ vehicles with faulty ignition switches continued to rise this week.

Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney administering GM’s victim’s compensation fund, approved another death benefit payout, bringing the total number of fatalities attributable to the faulty ignitions to 52.

Automotive Insight!

The amount of the benefit varies upon the circumstances, but each death benefit recipient receives at least $1 million.

The fund, which could pay out as much as $600 million, was established by GM last year for victims and their families who were killed or injured as a result of the company’s faulty ignition switches.

According to the weekly report from Feinberg’s office, another 57 claims managed to beat the deadline, which brought the total number to 4,237 filings. That total includes 462 death claims, 282 serious injury claims and 3,493 claims for less serious injuries.

There have been eight claims for serious injuries approved and 72 for less serious injuries. Serious injuries include physical injuries resulting in quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns. Less serious injuries are those requiring hospitalization or outpatient treatment within 48 hours of an accident.

Overall, 501 claims have been declared ineligible while another 1,016 are deficient, which means they need more information before making a decision, 1,146 are still under review.

Feinberg said last week that he and his team will be processing claims throughout the spring. Part of the problem is that hundreds of claims were submitted incomplete and they were returned with requests for the needed information for a decision to be made.

(GM gets deadline flurry of compensation claims. For more, Click Here.)

The faulty switches, which led to the recall of 2.6 million GM vehicles last year, allowed the ignition to move from the “run” to the “accessory” position cutting the power to the car’s airbags, power steering and power brakes. This could cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

In the wake of the recall, GM executives, including CEO Mary Barra, made multiple appearances before Congressional committees. The company is also subject to a variety of lawsuits as well as an investigation by the Justice Department.

(Click Here for more details about GM’s victims compensation fund.)

A federal bankruptcy court is deciding whether to let claims proceed. General Motors Co., which was formed in a government-sponsored sale of assets from its predecessor’s 2009 bankruptcy reorganization, has said it will not invoke its bankruptcy liability shield in the case of injuries or deaths to avoid paying claims, but is fighting other claims made by owners of vehicles for economic losses.

(To see how Chevy is truckin’ into Chicago with a special edition Colorado, Click Here.)

A hearing is set for Feb. 17 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York on the issue. If GM wins, victims of crashes before the restructuring likely could not sue GM.

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2 Responses to “GM Ignition Switch Death Count Increases to 52”

  1. nobsartist says:

    Hiding behind a meaningless deadline won’t protect them.
    Next stop, Shanghai.

  2. Jorge says:

    GM is not hiding behind any deadline. There will be lawsuits on the ignition switch deal for a decade. These cases submitted are basically a cost effective means to settle most of the cases in what is probably a reasonable and fair manner without all the hassles of a long drawn out lawsuit. No one is being prevented from suing GM and you can bet that a lot of siren chasers will cash in on this deal.

    GM was wrong for how they handled the problem and the siren chasers are wrong for filing bogus lawsuits. Consumers PAY for all damages and awards so it’s not good to have Jackpot Justice in any lawsuits.