GM and Chrysler Bankruptcy Auto Defect Liability Provision is Disaster Waiting to Happen
The California car accident lawyers at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys have joined a chorus of consumer groups, injured parties and other law firms nationwide in opposing a provision in the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcy plans that would essentially immunize the car makers from auto defect liability.
"Both GM and Chrysler will have immunity for any vehicles they manufactured up to the date of the bankruptcy filing," noted Brian Chase of the Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys. "Should anyone be injured or killed due to a GM or Chrysler auto defect, regardless of future date, those victims won't be able to sue. This represents the biggest tort reform we've ever seen."
Eight state attorneys general have opposed this provision, including those from Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Vermont. Each has filed an objection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, claiming that GM's plan to insulate itself from these auto product liabilities would prevent car accident victims from important legal rights. The new proposal could even eliminate double or triple damages--provisions that put real teeth into the lemon laws enacted by some states.
California car crash lawyers say the immunity provision impacts consumers nationwide. People with pending auto products liability lawsuits, or those involved in a car accident resulting in an auto products liability lawsuit, will be unable to recover damages. While the provision ensures that warranties will be honored, consumers will still be highly vulnerable. "The government has basically said that if you roll your SUV and the poorly designed roof caves in, killing or permanently injuring you, you can't go after the car maker," noted Brian Chase. "If your tire falls off, GM will honor that repair," added Chase. "But God forbid your tire falls off and you lose control of your vehicle, you get in a car accident and some other person is seriously injured or killed. YOU are liable, but NOT GM."
Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys thinks that if the zero-tort liability provision is permitted to stand, other backup measures should be implemented to protect consumers. "If GM is immunized from liability for auto injury defect claims, they should at least be required to get insurance, or have the government set aside part of their rescue package to cover these claims," said Brian Chase.
Consumers should also be aware that even past tort cases will be locked up in bankruptcy court, which means that after all the creditors are paid, and if there's any money left over, they'll get a small fraction of what they would be entitled if they litigate their case in bankruptcy court.
A national public awareness campaign to eliminate this provision has rallied consumer groups nationwide. They are urging consumers to voice their opposition to this onerous provision. To put a stop to this provision, contact your congressperson and/or senator and let them know that excusing an automaker from tort liability will have disastrous consequences.
The California car collision lawyers at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys act as consumer advocates when business or government agencies fail to act in cases where the public feels that a product is defective and might have caused them financial loss or even injury. However, GM's Federal bankruptcy court case greatly complicates any existing consumer law case.
See update report: Key Consumer Victory in GM Bankruptcy Auto Products Liability.
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