GM ignition claims near 1,100
Washington — General Motors’ independent compensation fund has now received more than 1,000 claims — a big jump since last week — the fund said Wednesday.
The fund — which as of Friday had received 867 claims — said Wednesday it has received 1,090 claims, including 156 for deaths, 74 for very serious injuries and 860 for lesser injuries. That's up by more than 220 claims since last week, said Camile Biros, the fund's deputy administrator.
Biros also said the fund has now made compensation offers to 31 claims approved by the fund. On Monday, the fund overseen by lawyer Ken Feinberg said it has approved 23 death claims for people killed as a result of defective ignition switches in since-recalled cars, an increase of two since last week. In addition, it has approved 16 claims for injuries.
Separately, a lawyer for a family involved in a serious crash said they had agreed to settle, making them at least the third family to do so. Last week, Feinberg said the fund had made offers to 15 victims and their families. Feinberg said the number of deaths approved will continue to “inch up.”
The fund will pay at least $1 million for each death claim, along with $300,000 payments to surviving spouses and children for pain and suffering. In addition, it will calculate the economic value of the life lost. The fund has no cap on overall payments.
The claims stem from GM’s delayed recall of 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other cars with defective ignition switches that can accidentally turn off the engine and disable power steering, power brakes and air bags. The fund will accept claims through Dec. 31.
Some at the automaker knew of problems for more than a decade before the cars were recalled. In May, GM paid a record-setting $35 million fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for delaying the recall. It faces investigations by the Justice Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, 45 state attorneys general and regulators in Canada.