27 deaths now linked to GM’s faulty ignition switch

The death toll from the defective ignition switches in General Motors cars continues to rise.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who is managing the compensation process for GM, now says at least 27 people have died and 25 people have been seriously injured in crashes involving the cars.

He made the number public on Monday, saying he has received 178 death claims and 1,193 injury claims since GM announced its compensation process in August.

Feinberg is accepting claims until Dec. 31 and is reviewing insurance claim forms and pictures to determine whether the deaths and injuries are related to ignition switch problems.

So far he has made 31 settlement offers, and 21 have been accepted.

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 of this year.

The switches can slip out of the “on” position, which causes the cars to stall, knocks out power steering and turns off the airbags. That makes the car difficult to steer, leading to crashes in which the airbags do not deploy.

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