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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lawyer Raises Death Toll to 42 in Faulty G.M. Vehicles

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The lawyer overseeing the program to compensate victims of General Motors’ defective ignition switch has declared 42 death claims eligible for payment, bringing the number of deaths linked to the problem to more than triple the automaker’s original estimate of 13. The total was posted on Monday in a weekly update by the lawyer, Kenneth R. Feinberg. The report also said that Mr. Feinberg had accepted seven claims for catastrophic injuries — a category that includes permanent brain damage, quadriplegia and paraplegia — and 51 claims for other injuries that were serious enough to require hospitalization. G.M. has given Mr. Feinberg sole discretion to determine which claims are eligible for payment, so his determinations serve as the public record of the human toll from the defective switch, a flaw that the automaker has admitted was known in some parts of the company for more than a decade before it decided to recall 2.6 million cars for the problem this year. Monday’s update showed that a total of 2,326 claims had been filed so far, including 251 for deaths. Of those, 306 claims — including 46 death claims — were rejected. Most of the others are awaiting additional evidence.
A version of this brief appears in print on December 16, 2014, on page B2 of the New York edition with the headline: Lawyer Raises Death Toll to 42 in Faulty G.M. Vehicles. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe
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