GM says it now has notified families of 13 killed in crashes caused by ignition switches

General Motors says it now has contacted the families of the original 13 people whose deaths GM linked to faulty small-car ignition switches to tell them about its compensation program.

The company came under fire this week because one of the families was unaware that a Connecticut mother had died in a crash that GM had blamed on the switches. On Thursday, a U.S. senator and the family's lawyer called on GM to extend the Dec. 31 deadline to file compensation claims.

Company spokesman Jim Cain said GM began tracking down the 13 families shortly after hiring a compensation expert to run the fund in May. Most had been reached before last week. But he said GM did not contact Jean Averill's family until this week.