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Hundreds expected to file claims

General Motors Co. has hired Kenneth Feinberg, a top compensation expert, to pay people harmed in crashes caused by faulty ignition switches in older-model small cars.

The company says said at least 54 crashes and 13 deaths were caused by the problem, but lawyers and lawmakers say there will be hundreds of claims.

Here are details of the compensation plan announced Monday:

Who’s eligible: Drivers, passengers, pedestrians and people in other cars involved in crashes with the GM vehicles who suffered physical injuries or relatives of people killed in crashes.

Property damage claims and claims of psychological injury won’t be included.

Deadline: People can begin applying for compensation Aug. 1. The deadline for filing a claim is Dec. 31. Feinberg expects most claims to be processed in 90 to 180 days.

Compensation limits: None for deaths or extreme injuries such as permanent brain damage, loss of limbs, paralysis and serious burns.

Less serious injuries are limited by formulas similar to what Feinberg used to compensate those injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.

People can get quick settlements based on formulas for death and extreme injuries, or they can try to prove to Feinberg that they should get more money by proving extraordinary circumstances.

Burden of proof: Claims must show that the crashes were caused by faulty GM small-car ignition switches. The switches can unexpectedly slip from “run” to “accessory,” shutting off the engines and causing loss of power steering and brakes.

Right to sue: Those who settle with Feinberg give up their right to sue.

Affected models: About 2.6 million small cars worldwide, including the 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5; 2003-07 Saturn Ion; 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky; 2005-07 Pontiac Pursuit; 2007 Opel/Vauxhall GT and 2007 Daewoo G2X.

New models (2008-11) of the same cars that got the switches as replacement parts are also included.

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