GM fund says 104 new claims filed; no new claims OK’d

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

General Motors Co.’s ignition switch compensation fund said Monday it received another 104 claims for compensation over the last week — including nine death claims — but no new payouts were approved.

In total, GM compensation adviser Kenneth Feinberg has approved claims for 42 fatalities and 58 injury claims linked to defective ignition switches.

The number of death claims rose to 260, up from 251, and serious injury claims rose to 172, up from 156 over a week earlier. Feinberg has declared 306 ineligible — including 46 death claims — while 692 claims are still under review and 764 have been submitted without documentation.

Last week, Camille Biros, the deputy administrator of the compensation fund, said it has made 65 compensation offers and 41 have been accepted. None have been rejected.

GM set up the fund to compensate 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 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.