|Carson Authors Bill to Force GM, Chrysler to Cover Future and Current Liability Claims|
June 29, 2009
When Chrysler filed bankruptcy in April, Jeremy’s mediation date was cancelled and his case has now been grouped with a number of other pending claims—likely never to see any payout due to the agreement struck in the bankruptcy court earlier this month. The court has absolved “New Chrysler,” which emerged from bankruptcy, from any liability for future claims related to vehicles made before the creation of the new company.
To help Jeremy and thousands of future crash victims have their day in court, Congressman André Carson has filed the “Jeremy Warriner Consumer Protection Act,” a bill that would require the newly-restructured GM and Chrysler to carry liability insurance and force the carmakers to cover claims made against them for any defective products produced by their predecessor company.
“I want to see a stronger GM and Chrysler arise from bankruptcy, and I believe in the quality American vehicles being built by the thousands of union workers across our country,” Congressman Carson said. “But I also believe strongly in consumer protection and preserving the right of an injured crash victim to have his or her day in court.
“This fundamental American ideal is in jeopardy right now unless this legislation is passed and prevents Jeremy’s tragic story from playing out for thousands of Americans.”
The Congressman applauded GM for this weekend’s announcement that it would be responsible for covering future claims made by drivers injured in cars manufactured pre-bankruptcy, but he noted the move did not go far enough.
“GM’s announcement does not eliminate the need for legislative action,” said
In total, Jeremy Warriner has had more than 30 surgeries and racked up more than $1 million in medical expenses.
The lack of accountability from the two auto manufacturers could mean mounting medical expenses not only for drivers but states too. They would be forced to pay out more from programs like Medicaid and Medicare to cover health care costs for car-crash victims who have no legal recourse to seek damages from GM and Chrysler.
The unprecedented action taken by the federal government to save GM and Chrysler from collapse has created a situation where the bankruptcy courts, in an effort to aid the two automakers in ridding their book of bad assets, can agree (and have agreed in Chrysler’s case) to let the newly- restructured company leave behind liability from past products.
There are an estimated 10 million Chrysler and 30 million General Motors vehicles currently on the road that are subject to safety recalls. Thousands of these vehicles will be involved in crashes that result in serious auto injuries or fatalities over the next decade.
Carson reiterated his overall support for the restructuring plans of GM and Chrysler, saying that the end of the two companies would have been “devastating to our already troubled economy—especially here in Indiana, which ranks 6th in the nation in terms of jobs dependent on the Big 3 automakers’ survival.”
And he also noted that his bill does not reflect any concerns he has about the quality or safety of American-made automobiles.
“As with any complex, manufactured product, there have been and will continue to be defective parts in automobiles being produced by companies around the world,” said
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