General Motors’ ignition-switch compensation fund approved another seven death claims associated with ignition switch defects in its cars in the past week, bringing the total to 97 deaths, the office administering GM’s compensation fund said.
GM originally said it knew of only 13 deaths linked to the defect.
The office of attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing victim compensation on the automaker’s behalf, also approved 16 more injury claims, raising the total to 179 approved injury claims as of May 1.
Of the 179 approved injury claims, 12 are for serious injuries resulting in quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burn. The other 167 claims are for less serious injuries requiring hospitalization or outpatient medical treatment within 48 hours of the accident.
The deadline for victims to file claims was Jan. 31.
After GM recalled 2.6 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches last year, the automaker hired Feinberg to administer the victims compensate program.
The defective switches can move from the “run” position, which cuts power to the power steering, brakes and airbags.
A person seeking compensation must prove that the airbag did not deploy, and must show the defective switch was the primary cause of the crash.
Through Friday, GM had received 474 claims for deaths, 289 claims for catastrophic injuries and 3,579 claims for injuries requiring hospitalization. Feinberg’s office is still reviewing another 669 claims.