Hoping For Congressional Intervention
New television ads will begin running in the Washington D.C. market urging Congress and President Obama to take action to protect consumers who have lost liability claims for defective cars under the new Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcy.
When Chrysler and 24 subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy code, it was assumed the New Chrysler would assume Chrysler’s tort liabilities. Instead the automaker asked the sale be free and clear of all liens and claims. Chrysler was sold to Fiat last Wednesday.
The bankruptcy loophole means that someone currently injured from a defective seat belt, an exploding gas tank, or a crushed roof, has no remedy through the court to cover medical expenses from injury or death, or to compensate a survivor.
There are thousands of victims stories being told by consumer groups and General Motors reportedly has $1.25 billion in pending product liability claims.
Neither GM nor Chrysler will be responsible for their over 40 million cars currently on the road that are subject to liability claims (there are about 99 million GM Chrysler autos on the road but some have passed a statute of limitations).
The ad can be seen online and is sponsored by an Ad Hoc Committee of Consumer Victims of GM and Chrysler.
The script of the ad is as follows:
“Now that GM and Chrysler have 57 billion dollars of taxpayer money, they're full of promises.
But they don’t mention their current bankruptcy plan throws consumer safety protections out the window.
Americans would have no protection if they were injured or killed by a defective GM or Chrysler vehicle from pre-bankruptcy days.
Many life threatening defects would no longer be reported -- let alone fixed.
We all want GM and Chrysler to thrive – but not at the cost of our own survival.”
Consumers just spent $57 billion of tax dollars to bailout Chrysler and GM, says Sean Kane of Safety Research & Strategies Inc, a Washington D.C. accident prevention consulting group behind the ad.
He tells IB News, “The most susceptible group is being thrown out in an extraordinary way. This is not the ordinary cost of business. We’re trying to get additional interest and to get the attention of policymakers in Washington D.C. The general public does not understand it.”
Kane says if you purchased a Chrysler prior to the Fiat purchase, you have no recourse if you or a loved one suffers death or disability. The very same care purchased after Fiat bought Chrysler would have liabilities covered under the new company.
Kane is hopeful the ads will get the attention of Congress which could put aside a victim’s fund so the significant liability concerns can be addressed.
He adds that 47% of all death and injury claims filed against auto manufacturers involve Chrysler and GM cars.
“The only way this will be solved is for some legislators to step in and say we can’t let the extraordinary trampling of rights happen.”
If consumers can no longer file death and disability claims against Chrysler and GM, data will no longer be provided to the federal government which acts as an early warning system, the groups say. #