GM Ignition Switch Death Toll Increases To 57 Nearly A Month After Claims Deadline

Nearly a month after the deadline to file death and injury compensation claims related to General Motors’ ignition recall, the number of fatalities tied to the long-ignored defect continues to increase.

Reuters reports that the fund responsible for vetting the death and injury claims related to the recall has acknowledged 57 deaths and 94 injuries.

Officials with the fund say they have received 33 additional claims last week. Of those claims 479 were for death, 292 for catastrophic injuries and 5,574 for less-serious injuries requiring hospitalization.

So far, the number of claims found to be eligible for compensation is 151.

According to Ken Feinberg, the administer of the program, 666 claims have been deemed ineligible, while 1,457 are currently under review. Another 1,104 claims lack sufficient paperwork and 976 claims had no documentation.

Although the deadline to file claims was Jan. 31, officials with the program say they will accept claims postmarked before that date.

Consumers deemed eligible are receiving settlement offers from the fund, but they are not required to accept it. If they don’t accept the offer, the claimants can still seek other action against the carmaker, but anyone who accepts a settlement gives up their right to further legal claims.

Before the fund began accepting claims in August, GM only acknowledged 13 deaths tied to the ignition default.

That figure continuously came under fire from critics who said it only accounted for front seat passengers and cars involved in head-on crashes.

The fund, which GM estimates could cost nearly $400 million, includes other passengers in the vehicles, people in other vehicles and pedestrians injured or killed in the accidents.

GM gets 33 more claims for faulty ignition switch compensation [Reuters]