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GM compensation fund has received 107 death claims

A GM sales lot.A GM sales lot.

Throughout the General Motors recall scandal, some numbers have fluctuated — the number of cars recalled, the number of congressional appearances by CEO Mary Barra, the number of lawsuits the Detroit automaker is facing.

One number, though, has remained remarkably steady: The 13 deaths GM (GM) says can be attributed to the faulty ignition switches that led to the automaker’s massive recalls earlier this year. That could change, though, in the coming months.

The GM Ignition Compensation protocol has received 107 death claims since it started accepting claims on Aug. 1, a spokesperson for the protocol said Wednesday. Some of those are claims for multi-fatality accidents. The spokesperson did not release how many fatal accident claims were multi-fatality versus a single fatality.

The number of death claims is higher than the 13 deaths that GM has officially attributed to the faulty switch.

The protocol — which covers roughly 2.6 million cars recalled last February and March — is being administered by compensation guru Kenneth Feinberg independently of GM. Awarding a claim for a fatality, therefore, would not be the same as GM acknowledging a death.

The fund started accepting claims on Aug. 1 and will remain open until Dec. 31.

Claims for compensation will be evaluated by the fund’s administrators. They will look at whether the ignition switch was responsible for a severe physical injury, or a death, and Feinberg and his team will decide how much money to award.

GM has estimated the protocol will pay out between $400 and $600 million. The automaker is also waiting to hear if it will be hit with a massive civil action from the U.S. Justice Department and is looking at a class action case led by Steve Berman, the same lawyer who settled a class action suit with Toyota (TM) for $1.6 billion following the Japanese companies own recall crisis a few years ago.