Chris Welsh, Esq.

Compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg has so far determined that the now notorious GM ignition switch defect, which was found to shut off the airbag and power steering, is responsible for 56 deaths.

The new total has been climbing since the Jan. 31st deadline to submit claims to the compensation fund, which was set up due to the sheer size of the GM issue. Feinberg directed other mass compensation funds for other great tragedies, including the September 11th fund and one for the BP oil spill. As part of the process, those who submitted their claim for deliberation forfeited their right to sue the automaker.

By the standards set by the fund, each potential death claim is worth at least $1 million. Feinberg received 478 death claims and 3,834 injury claims. Of those, 56 deaths and 87 injuries have been confirmed. Expecting that number to grow, the automaker has set aside between $400-$600 million for payments, but hasn’t put a cap on the amount Feinberg can compensate victims.

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