Chrysler Accepts Future Liability; Current Claimants Still have no Recourse

Two-and-a-half months after Chrysler took a pass on accepting responsibility for injuries and deaths caused by its defective products via an expedited bankruptcy plan, the automaker announced that it was going to accept future liability claims for vehicles made by the old company.

It would be heartwarming to imagine a corporate come-to-Jesus moment, but cooler calculations apparently prompted this new tack, including increased pressure from injury victims, Congress, and the threat of state-by-state litigation into the legality of wiping away future claimant’s rights.

GM / Chrysler Bankruptcies: What’s In What’s Out

The terms of the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies have created arbitrary and artificial classes of claimants. Here are the current parameters for liability:

Chrysler: Date of Bankruptcy Exit: June 10

Chrysler, GM Bankruptcies Concluded, Defect Victims Cheated

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Obama administration’s drive-by bankruptcies have left the victims of defect-related crashes to eat their dust, but consumer advocates are turning to other strategies to force Chrysler and General Motors to do the right thing.

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, along with Consumer Action, Center for Auto Safety, Center for Justice & Democracy, and National Consumers League, have petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to require labels informing buyers of a used Chrysler’s unique liabilities. The label they’ve suggested goes like this:

“WARNING    This vehicle was produced prior to the date when the Chrysler bankruptcy was approved. If you buy this vehicle and are injured or killed, even if your injuries were caused by the manufacturer, you or your survivors will not be able to recover your losses by taking action against the manufacturer. If your passengers are injured or killed, even if their injuries were caused by the manufacturer, they and their survivors will not be able to recover their losses by taking action against the manufacturer.”

Sudden Unintended Acceleration

Sudden Unintended Acceleration can be rooted in a variety of vehicle defects including ergonomic design flaws, mechanical or electro-mechanical failures, or electronic failures.  The article below, republished from Safety Research & Strategies bi-monthly publication, The Safety Record, is an overview of SUA.

Stick a Fork in It

Barring a successful appeal by some crash victims, the General Motors bankruptcy is a done deal. Over the Independence Day holiday weekend, Judge Robert E. Gerber of the federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan declared independence for General Motors from all previous liabilities. On Sunday, Gerber approved the sale of the automaker’s assets to a consortium consisting of the governments of the U.S. and Canada and a health trust owned by the United Auto Workers union. The parties were racing to beat the Obama administration’s clock of a bankruptcy and sale by Friday. The deal is expected to close on Thursday, after the judge’s four-day stay runs out.



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