Consumer groups are appealing a May 31 decision allowing bankrupt automaker Chrysler to avoid legal responsibility for thousands of serious injuries caused by its products, ABC affiliate WCVB reported June 4. Under the language of the bankruptcy filing, people harmed by defective Chrysler products are considered unsecured creditors, which means a bankruptcy judge can eliminate any debt Chrysler might have to them with the stroke of a pen — no matter how strong their claims might be. People with warranty claims on Chrysler cars would still be able to get repairs made, the station said. A coalition of consumer groups is calling for Chrysler and GM, which is also bankrupt, to either alter their filings or buy an insurance policy to cover the claims.
The piece starts with the story of Donia Kerrigan of Scarborough, Maine, who lost her left arm in an accident she says was caused by a defective seatbelt and airbag in her Jeep (a Chrysler brand). Kerrigan told the news station that her airbag malfunctioned and didn’t deploy all the way, in essence blowing her arm off. Another accident victim, Jeremy Warner of Indiana, lost both legs in a fire he believes was caused by a defective brake fluid container in his own Jeep. He had already sued, but told reporters that his case was eliminated by the language of the bankruptcy filing. Thanks to Chrysler’s responsibility-dodging bankruptcy plan, people like Kerrigan and Warner could be stuck with no way to recover those costs — in essence, victimized a second time by the manufacturer’s bad decisions.
As a Portland, Maine car crash lawyer, I know firsthand that this issue goes beyond equitable treatment of warranty holders and injured people. In addition to their physical injuries, which can disable them for life, people hurt in auto accidents frequently run into financial problems caused by their injuries. Medical bills alone can reach five or six figures, especially in cases of permanent disability. Victims who can’t work after their accidents lose weeks of income, and sometimes their jobs or careers. A Maine auto accident lawsuit allows them to recover that money, along with compensation for their injuries, pain and any permanent disability or wrongful death.
All manufacturers are strictly liable for the safety of their products in Maine, which means they are legally responsible for injuries and deaths their defective products cause. If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in a crash you believe was caused by a faulty vehicle or auto part, you may be able to sue the manufacturer. The Bangor, Maine auto accident attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can help. From main offices in Portland and Bangor, we represent people throughout the state who have suffered serious injuries because of someone else’s carelessness, including carelessness on the road as well as manufacturing defects. Our track record of success includes multiple settlements of $1 million or more.
To learn more about how we can help, please contact Peter Thompson & Associates today at 1-800-804-2004 or contact us via email.