51 deaths found eligible for compensation from GM

GM claims deadline passes
GM claims deadline passes   

The compensation fund for victims of General Motors' faulty ignition switch has determined that 121 claims are eligible, including those for 51 people who died, administrator Kenneth Feinberg told CNBC on Monday.

GM was using different standards—direct evidence of the engineering defect—when it identified 13 eligible cases, Feinberg said. Lawyers and the judges look at other factors, such as circumstantial evidence, "so naturally there would be more clients," Feinberg said in "Squawk Box" interview.

As of Monday morning, the compensation program had received 4,180 claims, but about 3,000 were either ineligible, lacked sufficient documentation or were filed with no documentation whatsoever, he said. The program is still reviewing claims that were submitted by the deadline.

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Feinberg declined to say how much the GM could potentially pay in total compensation, but said no eligible claimant has thus far rejected the money the fund has offered. The initial 13 claims identified by GM have been processed, he added.

Feinberg has also handled claims for the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund. The GM case has proven difficult compared to those high-profile cases because some of the accidents attributable to defective ignition switches go back a decade, he said.

"In BP, in 9/11, we were processing claims, relatively speaking, immediately after the tragedy," he said. "Here we're going back to the early 2000s, and it's very difficult and complex to reconstruct accidents with circumstantial evidence after so much time has expired."

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General Motors said last week it would not extend this past weekend's deadline to file claims in its faulty ignition switch compensation program, rejecting pleas from two U.S. senators for an extension.

GM said it had already extended the deadline once to Jan. 31.

—Reuters contributed to this story.