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Death toll in Crashes Caused by Faulty Ignition Switches in some General Motors Vehicles Rises to 19

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Nineteen deaths have been linked to a serious flaw with some models of General Motors (GM) vehicles, 13 more than originally believed.

GM has received 125 claims for deaths and 320 for injuries in the five weeks since the GM Ignition Compensation Fund has been up and running. Thirty-one of the claims have been found to be eligible for compensation, while most of the remaining claims are still under review. Fewer than a dozen have been rejected, according to CNN Money.

The families of victims who died can expect to receive $1 million, plus an estimate of the victim’s future earning potential and $300,000 each for a surviving spouse and dependents. Compensation for injured victims ranges from $20,000 for the least serious injuries to $500,000 for victims who spent upwards of a month in the hospital. Four people suffered severe injury such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, brain damage or serious burns. Eight other victims with less serious injuries have also been identified, CNN Money reported.

“GM had its engineers determine, with certainty, that there were 13 deaths caused by the ignition switch defect,” GM attorney Ken Feinberg told CNN Money, explaining the discrepancy between the original number of deaths and the updated number. “The program we are administering is much easier to satisfy.”

Feinberg explained that under the terms of the GM Ignition Compensation Fund, claimants must prove the ignition switch was a “proximate cause” of the accident.

“We’re applying a legal standard,” Feinberg said. “The 13 was an engineering conclusion.”

GM’s initial death count included only head-on crashes in which the front airbag failed to properly deploy and victims were seated in the vehicles’ front seat, according to CNN Money.

The total amount the fund will pay out has yet to be seen, partly because the determination of eligibility does not mean a victim or family has accepted the company’s offer. There is no cap on how much the automaker will have to pay out through the GM Ignition Compensation Fund, but Feinberg’s office is receiving approximately 100 claims per week, including many in which the family doesn’t agree on who should get the money. Feinberg will accept claims through the end of the year, CNN Money reported.

Those who apply for compensation need to produce a great deal of paperwork including a police report, vehicle computer data, financial records to calculate earning potential, and health care records or a death certificate. Those who accept compensation are barred from suing GM, prompting some families to reject the fund and fight for their day in court, according to CNN Money. disclaimer: This article: Death toll in Crashes Caused by Faulty Ignition Switches in some General Motors Vehicles Rises to 19 was posted on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 12:21 pm at and is filed under Accident Lawsuits.

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