The head of the GM Ignition Compensation Fund has approved settlements for surviving families in 29 fatal accidents involving defective ignition switches.
Kenneth Feinberg, who is directing the assessment of all claims, has received 184 death claims.
Another 27 people have received compensation payments for serious injuries. That is out of 1,333 claims.
General Motors hired Feinberg, but no company officials are involved in the claims process. The amount of settlements Feinberg approves is not capped.
GM has estimated that the cost at the end of the process will be between $400 million and $600 million.
The faulty switches were installed in Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions, Pontiac G5s, Chevrolet HHRs, Pontiac Solstices and Saturn Skys, mostly from the 2003-07 model years. GM recalled up to 2.6 million of those models.
Those who were injured or families of anyone who died in an accident involving the cars have until Dec. 31 to file a claim. They must provide evidence showing the defective ignition switches were the substantial cause of the accident.
In cases where someone died as a result of the defect and Feinberg has deemed the claim eligible, the victim’s family will receive a minimum of $1 million. There may be additional compensation depending on the age, income and other actuarial factors.
GM knew about faulty ignition switches in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars for more than a decade, but didn’t recall them until February. The switches can slip out of the “on” position, which causes the cars to stall, knocks out power steering and turns off the air bags.