GM Ignition Switch Defect Linked to 30 Deaths

General Motors Co. ignition switch defect has been linked to one more death, bringing the total up to 30 fatalities, according to a report from the office of the attorney managing the compensation fund. According to Law360, the defect has been tied to seven deaths since the beginning of October. The report showed that 1,580 total claims have been received since the fund began accepting claims in August. Last week, that figure was 1,517.

According to the report, 61 claims for fatalities and injuries from the defect have been approved. The issue with the ignition switch is that it can cause the car to switch out of the “run” mode while driving, cutting power to the engine and disabling airbags.

The defect prompted millions of cars to be recalled. Law360 reports that most recalls required replacing or modifying the key. A replacement ignition switch is required for 2.6 million vehicles, According to a GM representative, ignition-related recalls now involved nearly 14.7 million cars in the US. A regulatory fling on Thursday showed that costs have gone up to $2.7 billion this year. GM said it spent $680 million repair ignition switches in 2.6 million cars during the first nine months of 2014. During the same time frame, the company spent $325 million to fix or replace ignition keys for $12.1 million vehicles.
Law360 reports that so far, 31 families have accepted settlement offers from GM and more claims are expected by the December 31st deadline. According to the compensation fund’s website, compensation is awarded individually based on severity of injuries and whether or not long-term care is necessary.

The fund has received 192 death claims, 102 claims for quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns since August. The report also showed that 1,286 claims were submitted for injuries that needed medical attention within 48 hours of the accident. Approval for four severe injury claims and 27 medical treatment claims has been confirmed so far. The remaining claims are either under review, require additional documentation or are not eligible. Last month, two claims were settled; one was for two Wisconsin teenagers who died when the air bags malfunctioned and the other was for a two year old boy who became paralyzed from the waist down after an accident.

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