GM fund approves 29 death claims
Washington — The General Motors Co. ignition switch compensation fund has approved 29 death claims for people killed as a result of defective ignition switches in since-recalled cars, an increase of two since last week — and it has now approved 27 injury claims, up from 25 a week earlier, the fund said in a report Monday.
The number of total claims filed as of Friday was 1,517, up about 10 percent from the previous week. There have been 184 death claims, up from 178. Claims for serious injuries total 93, up from 85. Claims for less-serious injuries total 1,240, up from 1,108.
The fund will continue to accept claims through Dec. 31.
GM has said it expects to spend $400 million on claims, but has said they could rise as high as $600 million. The fund has made settlement offers to 31 victims and their families; at least 21 of those offers have been accepted, and the fund expects all 31 will accept. Deputy fund administrator Camile Biros said Monday the fund is close to issuing its first checks.
It has ruled that between 90 and 100 claims are not eligible for funding, the office of independent compensation adviser Kenneth Feinberg said. The vast majority are still being reviewed as people are asked to submit additional documentation to establish a link between ignition switches and crashes.
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 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 U.S Attorney's Office in New York — aided by the FBI and a federal grand jury — along with the Securities and Exchange Commission, 45 state attorneys general and Canadian officials are probing GM's delayed recall. GM paid a record-setting $35 million fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in May and agreed to up to three years of intense oversight by the agency.
GM has recalled 30 million vehicles worldwide in 76 campaigns, including 26.5 million in the United States. GM has at least four recall campaigns that haven’t yet been made public.