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Death toll from GM ignition switches keeps climbing

DETROIT - At least 36 people have been killed in crashes involving General Motors (GM) vehicles with faulty ignition switches.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the totals Monday. His office indicated that least 44 people have been seriously injured in accidents linked to the defective part. Feinberg says he has received 229 death claims and 1,986 injury claims since August.

The fund has made compensation offers to 57 of the 80 eligible claimants so far. Thirty-five have accepted, and 20 have been paid.

GM issued a recall Friday for almost 500,000 ... 00:26

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.

Feinberg will accept claims until Jan. 31.

GM has recalled more than 30 million vehicles worldwide, including nearly 27 million in the U.S., this year because of a range of problems.

The auto giant initially claimed that 13 people died in crashes involving the defective switches, but GM later acknowledged that the death toll would go higher. Some lawmakers have estimated that the total death toll could climb to 100.

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