The number of approved death compensation claims related to a recall of a faulty General Motors ignition switch has risen to 50, reported MLive.
The claims were approved by a fund set up by GM to compensate victims of a defective part in mid-to-late-2000s model cars that has led to a massive recall and a federal investigation.
The number of approved claims stood at 19 in mid-September and had grown steadily to 36 at the beginning of December and then to 42 in the middle of last month. They stood at 49 on Jan. 16.
The victim compensation fund is being overseen by Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington, D.C. attorney who oversaw similar compensation facilities for disasters such as the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The GM ignition switch claims facility released its latest report Friday.
The latest tally of claims received stands at 3,068, including 338 death claims, 224 “Category One” injury claims, or those resulting in quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns, and 2,506 “Category Two” injury claims, or injuries that required a hospital visit within 48 hours of an accident.
To date, there have been 125 claims determined eligible, including the 50 death claims, as well as seven Category One injury claims and 68 Category Two claims.
The deadline for filing a compensation claim has been extended to Jan. 31.
According to the claims resolution facility’s program statistics, 386 claims have been deemed ineligible, while 908 are deficient and 802 are under review. Another 847 claims have been submitted with no documentation.
GM has estimated that compensating all victims of the defective car part could cost the Detroit automaker anywhere from $400-600 million.
GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles, including 2.2 million in the U.S., affected by the ignition switch. The recall includes 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2007-2010 Saturn Skys, 2005-2011 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstices, and 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models.
The faulty ignition switches at the heart of the unprecedented recall can move out of the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” positions, leading to a loss of power. The risk may be increased if the key ring is carrying added weight or if the vehicle goes off road or experiences some jarring event, including rough roads. If the key turns to one of those positions, officials say the front air bags may not work if there’s a crash.