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GM Ignition Switch Death Toll Reaches 49

General Motors announced that the number of GM ignition switch death claims the company paid out has reached 49. The automaker has established a compensation fund for victims of accidents related to a defective ignition switch. The faulty switch has been found in over 2.6 million small cars the company produced over more than ten years. The families of the victims of fatal accidents involving the switches can receive GM ignition switch death claims of at least $1 million.

Details of the GM Ignition Switch Death Reports

The reason behind the GM ignition switch deaths stems from a flaw in the switch design. The flaw can force the switch to move from the “ON” position to the “ACC” position, causing the vehicle to lose power when the switch is bumped or jarred. The loss of power can lead to failures in the vehicle’s safety systems, such as power steering, power brakes and airbag inflation. Numerous accidents have led to 49 GM ignition switch death claims against the company thus far, as well as 65 claims for serious injuries.

Deadline for GM Ignition Switch Death Claims Coming Soon

The automaker has also announced that the deadline for filing GM ignition switch death claims is January 31, 2015. The company had initially established a deadline of December 31, 2014, but chose to extend that deadline due to the number of claims. The compensation fund has paid out 49 GM ignition switch death claims out of 311 received. The fund administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, ruled 49 other claims ineligible for compensation. The remainder of the claims received are still under evaluation.

GM Ignition Switch Death Reports Spur Recall, Record Fines

As reports of GM ignition switch deaths mounted in the media, the company placed a then-record recall on the affected vehicles. These vehicles included many of its popular models of small sedans, including the Chevrolet Cobalt, the Saturn Ion and the Pontiac G5. The recalls encompassed more than 2.6 million vehicles worldwide. A Congressional committee also investigated the GM ignition switch death claims and found that the company should have replaced the part and issued the recalls sooner. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration fined GM $35 million, a record at that time.

Source: USA Today

Know Your Rights in a GM Ignition Switch Death Lawsuit

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