August 8, 2014 / 11:34 PM / in 4 years

GM ignition switch fund gets 63 death case claims: AP

(Reuters) - The lawyer overseeing a General Motors Co (GM.N) fund set up to compensate victims of accidents caused by faulty ignition switches in its cars has received claims for 63 deaths cases, the Associated Press reported, citing a spokeswoman for the fund.

A man walks past a row of General Motors vehicles at a Chevrolet dealership on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing the fund, received 125 claims by Friday afternoon since it was set up a week ago. The AP said 62 others were seeking payments for injuries, citing the spokeswoman Camille Biros.

Feinberg, who started taking claims from August 1 and will continue until December 31, will determine the number of claims eligible for payments and the final payouts.

Biros was not immediately available to comment.

GM earlier this year recalled 2.6 million cars for the faulty ignition switches, which can cause engine stalls and stop power steering and power brakes from operating and air bags from deploying. It has also admitted not fixing the problem for a decade.

The number of death claims represents nearly five times the 13 deaths that GM has attributed to the defective switches.

The Detroit-based automaker has set aside $400 million to cover victims’ claims, but the amount could grow because the fund is not capped.

    Lawyers for various plaintiffs have said several dozen deaths may ultimately be attributed to the switches.

    The payouts from the compensation fund for eligible claims is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2015, Feinberg said in June, adding that the families for those who died would likely be awarded at least $1 million.

Feinberg has previously handled a compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and a BP Plc (BP.L) fund for victims of the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Bernard Orr

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