GM Ignition Recall Death Toll Rises To 74

Not even a year ago, General Motors was hesitant to confirm that 13 deaths had been tied to a long-ignored ignition switch defect in the Chevy Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other vehicles. Now the carmaker is acknowledging that many times that number of people were killed as a result of their negligence, with the latest death toll rising to 74.

That’s up from 67 approved death claims only a week ago, reports the Detroit News.

Additionally, the GM ignition switch compensation fund approved 13 new injury claims, bringing that total up to 126.

If a victim or victim’s family receives an offer from the compensation fund, they are not obligated to accept it. However, accepting the offer bars them from further legal action against GM.

The amounts appear to be satisfactory to most claimants. According to the fund, around 80% of the extended offers have already been accepted, with only around 4% of offers being rejected. About 2/3 of approved-and-accepted claims have already been paid out.

There are still more than 1,300 claims under review, though only 95 of them involve fatalities.

Between the flood of last-minute filings on the Jan. 31 deadline and claims that require further documentation to complete the review, the compensation fund expects that it will be near summer before its job is done.

GM has not put a maximum on what it will pay to victims of the ignition defect, though the company’s top-end estimate for total payouts is around $600 million.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.