General Motors’ compensation program spearheaded by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg has so far approved claims for 19 deaths related to faulty ignition switches, six more than GM had previously confirmed. About 125 death claims had been submitted as of September 12 to the compensation program and more will likely be added before the deadline comes on December 31.
According to Automotive News, no death claims submitted to the program have been rejected, but deputy administrator of the program, Camille Biros, said they are “getting to that point.” The program will also be accepting claims for compensation from those who suffered extreme injuries such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or severe burns.
A total of 445 claims had been submitted as of September 12, including the 125 death claims. The program began accepting claims on August 1 and will stop on December 31. The claims are currently under review while Feinberg and his team determine their valuation.
“We have previously said that Ken Feinberg and his team will independently determine the final number of eligible individuals, so we accept their determinations for the compensation program,” GM spokesman Dave Roman told AN. “What is most important is that we are doing the right thing for those who lost loved ones and for those who suffered physical injury.”
GM previously put estimates of how much the compensation fund would cost them at $400 million to $600 million, however the fund remains uncapped as its unclear just how many approved claims there will be. Feinberg’s criteria also includes all occupants of the defective vehicle as well as any pedestrians or occupants of another vehicle involved in a crash caused by the defect, which is part of the reason why Feinberg has recognized more deaths than GM did.
Feinberg said the number of approved claims will “clearly” go up when speaking with CNBC.