Deaths linked to GM's faulty ignition switch rise to 30

Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:21pm EDT
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By Julia Edwards

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A program that compensates victims of accidents caused by a faulty ignition switch in General Motors (GM.N: Quote) vehicles has approved one new death claim, bringing to 30 the total number of fatalities linked to the issue so far, according to a report on Monday.

Since it began accepting claims on Aug. 1, the program has received 1,580 claims for deaths and injuries, said the report from the office of attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was tapped by GM to run the program. The report listed all of the claims received and approved as of Friday.

GM has been criticized for waiting 11 years to begin recalling millions of cars with ignition-switch problems that have been linked to fatalities.

The switch can slip out of position, stalling the vehicle and disabling air bags. The defect led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles earlier this year.

So far, 61 claims have been deemed eligible for compensation, including 30 deaths and 31 injuries, the report showed.

Overall, the receipt of claims for injuries and deaths in the latest week has slowed, with the number up almost 4 percent from 1,517 the previous week. That compares with an 11 percent jump the week before, the report showed.

Feinberg, who ran compensation programs for victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and other catastrophes, has said it is typical to see the number of claims dip in the middle of a program's cycle.

The program will continue to receive applications until Dec. 31 on behalf of individuals injured or killed in accidents they say were caused by the switch problem.   Continued...

A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch, Illinois, July 17, 2014. REUTERS/John Gress