Washington — General Motors Co. ignition switch compensation fund said Monday it has approved four new death claims, raising the total to 42 because of defective ignition switches in older cars.
Compensation fund adviser Kenneth Feinberg also said Monday that seven additional injury claims had been approved, bringing the total to 58. It’s the biggest increase in deaths approved in months.
In total, 100 claims for compensation have now been approved.
Another 62 new claims were submitted last week, raising the total to 2,326. The number of death claims rose to 251, up from 239, and serious injury claims rose to 156, up from 150 over a week earlier.
Feinberg’s office said last week 57 offers have been made and 22 paid. None have been rejected. Of the initial 13 deaths linked by GM, 11 have sought compensation and the remaining two are expected to file.
Feinberg said as of Friday, 907 claims don’t have verifying information, down from 986 a week earlier. Feinberg has rejected 306 total claims, including 46 death claims. He has ruled 568 deficient, including 83 death claims. Another 445 claims are under review, including 34 death claims.
GM established the fund to provide compensation of those hurt or killed in 2.59 million now-recalled Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other cars with defective ignition switches that can inadvertently turn the engine off and disable power steering and air bags. The automaker has said it expects to spend $400 million on claims, but has said it could rise as high as $600 million.
In May, GM paid a record-setting $35 million fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the delayed ignition switch recall, and agreed to up to three years of monitoring. The delayed recall has prompted investigations from the Justice Department, Congress, 48 state attorneys general, the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. and Canadian regulators.
Last month, Feinberg recommended and GM agreed to extend the deadline 30 days until Jan. 31 — a month later than planned — as GM sent 850,000 letters to newly registered owners and others notifying them of the program.