The death toll linked to General Motor's defective ignition switches has reached a 100. The revised figure was released Monday by Kenneth Feinberg, the man in charge of GM's compensation fund.
Feinberg has said each validated claim would begin at $1 million and increase based on the circumstances of the crash. But one of the families to receive an offer says the payment isn't enough punishment for the automaker's long cover-up of their loved one's death.
In December of 2003, 81-year-old Jean Averill was driving a 2004 Saturn Ion on a Connecticut street when her car left the road, striking a tree. The air bag did not deploy; she was knocked unconscious and died hours later at the hospital.
For her sons, Mark and Sam Averill, the cause of her death had been a mystery.
"We had no idea that it was the fault of the car," said Mark. "The car had less than 500 miles on it, it was a brand new car."
Early last year GM announced the recalls of more than 2.6 million vehicles after admitting a heavy key chain or sudden jarring could shut the car off, disabling power steering, power brakes and safety systems like airbags. At the time they admitted 13 deaths were linked to the defect.
We now know Jean Averill was the first death -- a footnote in GM's 315-page report detailing the ignition switch problem. GM never told the family and her name was redacted in the version released to the public.
A reporter uncovered the identity and contacted the Averills.
"They (GM) haven't sent us an apology," said Sam.
The Averills have been offered payment from the GM compensation fund but they say the amount is not enough punishment for the company's decade long cover-up.
"They should be penalized," said Mark. "People should go to jail."
General Motors says their outreach has been extensive and fair. The Averills have until July 19th to accept the offer. If they don't, they could pursue legal action but that could be a challenge. A federal judge ruled that the GM formed after the company's 2009 bankruptcy is not responsible for previous accidents.