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GM ignition switch fund gets 63 death case claims

The lawyer overseeing a General Motors fund set up to compensate victims of accidents caused by faulty ignition switches in its cars said he received claims for cases involving 63 deaths.

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Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing the fund, also told Reuters that since the fund was set up a week ago 65 others had filed physical injury claims as of Friday afternoon. However, he added that the death claims had not yet been confirmed as being eligible for compensation.

protesters in front of the General Motors world headquarters where the GM 2014 Annual Shareholders meeting is taking place June 10, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.
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protesters in front of the General Motors world headquarters where the GM 2014 Annual Shareholders meeting is taking place June 10, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.

Feinberg, who started taking claims from Aug. 1 and will continue until Dec. 31, will determine the number of claims eligible for payments and final payouts.

GM earlier this year recalled 2.6 million cars for the faulty ignition switches, which can cause engine stalls and stop power steering and power brakes from operating and air bags from deploying. It has also admitted not fixing the problem for a decade.

The number of death claims represents nearly five times the 13 deaths that GM has attributed to the defective switches.

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The Detroit-based automaker has set aside $400 million to cover victims' claims, but the amount could grow because the fund is not capped.

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Lawyers for various plaintiffs have said several dozen deaths may ultimately be attributed to the switches.

The payouts from the compensation fund for eligible claims are expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2015, Feinberg said in June, adding that the families for those who died would likely be awarded at least $1 million.

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Feinberg has previously handled a compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and a BP fund for victims of the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

By Reuters