By on September 17, 2014

GM ignition diagram

Yesterday, we reported General Motors accepting there were 19 fatalities linked to a defective ignition switch originally tied to 13 deaths and 31 accidents, thanks in part to the compensation fund established with the aid of administrator and attorney Kenneth Feinberg. More could be on the way, however, as 131 fatality claims have been submitted thus far.

The Detroit News reports a total of 482 claims have been filed with the compensation fund since August 1, 2014, when the window for accepting claims was first opened. Some of the claims may end up being denied due to not adhering to the requirements for filing, such as the vehicle involved. That said, the two dozen administrative officials and economists involved in sorting out the claims haven’t yet said how many of the claims will be denied.

Compensation for approved fatality claims will be at least $1 million plus lost economic value per life, along with $300,000 each for surviving spouses and children for pain and suffering. Claims will continue to be accepted until the end of the year, which may see the official death toll increase by the time all claims have been examined in mid-2015.

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9 Comments on “131 Fatality Claims Filed With GM Compensation Fund Thus Far...”


  • avatar
    50merc

    How much time does it take for a mechanic to replace the switch?

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      I’ve done it in about two hours on a car without an airbag, the airbag, I guess would add more time. If you’re doing this all of the time, as in a recall, I would imagine that you get good at it and takes less time.

      There is a lot of “stuff” to move to get to the switch.

  • avatar
    BerlinDave

    Remember when you just turned the key back on and kept on going???

    For that matter remember turning said key off and then back on in order to backfire?

    Guess that dates me – I managed to do it once or twice and still survived!

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      Thats not the problem here, the problem is that the airbags are not firing in an accident situation because the key is in the off position. IIRC the key is moving from the run position to the off or accessory position during the crash sequence, and the car won’t fire the airbags even though all the sensors are tripped.

      • 0 avatar

        If GM *knew* that they had this issue before ever selling a single one of these cars—and they did—and weren’t willing to rectify it at that time, they should have at least kept the airbags in a retained power mode for a set amount of time after the ignition had been switched off. That probably would have cut down on the fatalities. I’m told that GM’s engineering departments were so disorganized that the people who were working on the switch didn’t realize that it turned the airbags off…though that’s still pretty ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      With the ignition turning just one click back and the radio still playing, there’s no real indication what killed the power assist brakes and steering. They may not even realize the engine is off or simply turned itself off.

      If they do realize they need to start the engine (at speed), they have to put it in Neutral first. It wouldn’t surprise me if most drivers don’t know how to do this.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        Having been raised on beaters and old cars with electrical gremlins, the procedure for restarting an automatic car in motion was one learned early on and usually in inopportune situations. But if a driver has never driven such vehicles, it’s easy to understand how they’d probably not know how to react if the engine suddenly at 60 MPH.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    “131 Fatality Claims Filed With GM Compensation Fund Thus Far…” Interesting!

    But then the burden of proof is on the victims and/or survivors, isn’t it?

    How do you go about proving an equipment malfunction if some law-enforcement reconstructionist already determined that there were other contributing factors that led to your accident, especially if you were texting, talking on the phone, asleep at the wheel, stoned and/or drunk?

    How many law-enforcement reconstructionists would say, “Yeah,I could have been wrong. It could have been a defective ignition switch that further complicated this accident?”

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Deaths caused by the switch can easily go unreported when the crash wouldn’t normally deploy a frontal airbag. There’s nothing suspicious about a rollover death or reason to check switch position.

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