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Compensation Attorney Finds 19 Deaths Linked to GM Ignition Switches

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/15/2014 Karla Sanchez

Ken Feinberg, the attorney charged with doling out the payments for GM's ignition switch compensation fund, has so far linked the defect with 19 deaths, up from the automaker's claimed 13.

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Since the compensation program went into effect about five weeks ago, Feinberg has reportedly received 125 claims for deaths and 320 for injuries. Of those, he has found 31 eligible for compensation, and fewer than a dozen that were not. In addition, the attorney is claiming that even more deaths have been linked to the defective ignition switch. While GM's number has long stood at 13, the attorney has increased that number to 19. Feinberg explains he arrived at this number because he's applying a "legal standard," saying that claimants who prove the ignition switch was a "proximate cause" of the accident are eligible. "The 13 was an engineering conclusion," he told CNN Money. 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe Front Side View© Provided by MotorTrend 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe Front Side View

GM's initial death count also differs because it includes only head-on crashes where the front airbag did not properly deploy. The count also only considered victims occupying a vehicle's front seats. Even though Feinburg's count is more than GM's initial one, the automaker is cooperating and has accepted the determinations as it said it would when the program was announced.

The families of victims who died can collect $1 million, plus an estimate of the victim's future earning potential and $300,000 each for a surviving spouse and dependents. Feinberg will continue accepting claims until the end of the year, and those who do file give up the right to sue GM in the future for their loss.

Source: CNN Money

2007 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe SS© Provided by MotorTrend 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe SS
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