GM Ignition Switch Death Toll Rises to 74March 23, 2015
The administrator of the automaker’s reimbursement fund for recalled vehicles announced that the GM ignition switch death toll now stands at 74. Attorney Ken Feinberg stated that the company recently paid out an additional seven GM ignition switch death claims, as well as 13 new injury claims. The company is still reviewing more than 1,300 claims, including 95 GM ignition switch death claims. Each death claim could cost the company at least $1 million.
Causes of GM Ignition Switch Death Claims
The controversy surrounding the GM ignition switch death claims started a year ago. An internal investigation revealed that the automaker had installed defective ignition switches in more than 2.6 million vehicles, including the popular Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion small sedans. The investigation revealed that the ignition switches would move from the “ON” to the “ACC” position. The switch would then cut power to the vehicle, including to vital safety systems such as power steering, power brakes and airbag deployment relays.
GM Ignition Switch Death Claims Probed
The automaker received more than 4,300 injury claims stemming from the defective switches, including 475 GM ignition switch death claims. Mr. Feinberg’s office received thousands of claims just prior to the company’s January 31, 2015, deadline. Mr. Feinberg announced that the company would require at least six months to complete their reviews of the GM ignition switch death and injury claims. So far, more than 1,000 claims, including 154 death claims, have been ruled as ineligible to receive compensation.
Differing Numbers For GM Ignition Switch Death Toll
The initial numbers for the GM ignition switch death toll came from the company’s internal investigation. That report counted only 13 fatalities, since its criteria for a GM ignition switch death counted only the driver or front-seat passenger. The compensation fund has broadened its definition of a fatality related to the defect. The fund includes passengers in affected vehicles, drivers and passengers in other vehicles involved in accidents with the affected vehicles, and even pedestrians struck by vehicles on the recall list.
GM Ignition Switch Death Lawsuits Could Cost Millions More
The automaker has already set aside $400 million to cover GM ignition switch death and injury claims, but some observers have noted that the amount could be up to $600 million. However, families that agree to accept payments from the compensation fund are not eligible to participate in any GM ignition switch death lawsuits. At least five families who have been offered compensation from the fund have rejected the offers. The company is already facing a number of GM ignition switch death lawsuits, which could cost the company hundreds of millions.
Source: Detroit News
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