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GM ignition switch death toll rises to 27

DETROIT - At least 27 people have died and 25 people have been seriously injured in crashes involving in General Motors (GM) cars with defective ignition switches.

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

Feinberg says he has received 178 death claims since August. Of those, 27 have been deemed eligible for compensation payments.

Twenty-five of the 1,193 injury claimants have also received compensation offers.

Feinberg will accept claims until Dec. 31.

GM has recalled more than 29 million vehicles worldwide, including nearly 26 million in the U.S., this year because of a range of problems.

Camille Biros, deputy administrator of the fund GM created to offer victims financial compensation, told CBS MoneyWatch earlier this month that the number of death claims is likely to rise. In part, that's because the fund is using a broader standard for who qualifies for compensation that what the automaker was taking into account, she said.

GM has acknowledged that it knew about faulty ignition switches in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars for more than a decade. The company didn't start recalling 2.6 million small cars until February.

The ignition switches can slip out of the "on" position, which causes the cars to stall and turns off the air bags.

For months, the company said at least 13 people died in crashes linked to the faulty switches, but GM acknowledged that the death toll would go higher. Some lawmakers have estimated that it's close to 100.

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