Death toll from GM ignition switches rises to 52

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, displays a GM ignition switch similar to those linked to deaths and dozens of crashes of GM small cars like the Chevy Cobalt, during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

DETROIT (AP) — New figures show at least 52 people have died and 79 have been injured in crashes involving General Motors cars with defective ignition switches.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the totals Monday.

Feinberg says on an Internet site that he has received 4,237 claims for payments from GM as of Friday. The fund has deemed 131 as eligible, and 501 are not eligible.

GM knew about faulty 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 and cause cars to stall unexpectedly.

The fund stopped taking claims on Jan. 31, but some that were postmarked by the deadline arrived last week.

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