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Approved Death Claims Related to GM Ignition Switch Recall Rise to 90

DETROIT – The number of approved death compensation claims related to a recall of a faulty General Motors ignition switch has risen to 90, 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 January. They hit 57 in February, reached 77 last month, and stood at 87 at the end of last week.

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 deadline to file claims was Jan. 31. New claims cannot be submitted, but the facility is still accepting the electronic filing of supporting documents for existing claims.

The latest tally of claims received stands at 4,342, including 475 death claims, 289 “Category One” injury claims, or those resulting in quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns, and 3,578 “Category Two” injury claims, or injuries that required a hospital visit within 48 hours of an accident.

Those numbers have remained unchanged for the past several weeks.

To date, there have been 253 claims determined eligible, a rise of nine claims over the past week. That total includes the 90 death claims, as well as 11 Category One injury claims and 152 Category Two claims.

According to the claims resolution facility’s program statistics, 1,420 claims have been deemed ineligible, an increase from 1,335 claims in last week’s report, while 1,181 claims are considered deficient, versus 1,141 in the last report. Another 997 remain under review, down from 1,085 in the previous report, and 491 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.

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