Saturday, May 16, 2009
For about three years there has been a big issue in my life that I haven't been able to write about. It's been difficult, because I've wanted to share this with you, but for various reasons I've had to keep my mouth firmly shut. However, recent developments in the world have wiped those reasons away. Unfortunately these events may also wipe away any security that I had hoped to have in my future.
The issue is that I have had a pending personal injury/product liability lawsuit against Chrysler. One of the big questions after the accident was, "What caused the fire?" Qualified individuals have examined the wreckage and determined that there was a design flaw in my vehicle that caused the fire. If the fire hadn't happened I would still have my legs. I would probably walk with a limp, but I wouldn't need prosthetics, crutches, a wheelchair, or modifications to my home or car.
I'm not going to discuss the details of the case, but I will say that we were supposed to be in Mediation (opportunity to reach settlement outside of court) two days after Chrysler declared bankruptcy. Their bankruptcy would be the "recent developments in the world" that has prompted me to finally tell you about this issue. The bankruptcy has put a hold on all legal proceedings and, most likely, will wipe my lawsuit against them off of their books permanently.
Even though my case has not been adjudicated and no monetary responsibility has been assigned to Chrysler I am considered an "unsecured creditor" in the bankruptcy. I don't want to get into the whys, how's, and what ifs here. My attorney's have looked at this from every angle and there's no way around it. If the bankruptcy court decides that unsecured creditors with liability claims like mine get nothing (and they probably will) then the lawsuit against Chrysler is over. The party responsible for the loss of my legs walks away from that responsibility.
I would understand if Chrysler was going out of business, but they aren't. They are using our bankruptcy laws to restructure and, hopefully, will come out stronger than ever before. In the process they also get to shirk their responsibilities to people like me who have been injured by their products. It's not moral, and it's certainly not ethical, but in this situation it is legal. Chrysler can effectively sweep the people who have been injured by their products under the rug, ignore their responsibility to people like me, and walk away as if it never happened.
Our government is financing the whole deal with our tax dollars. The US has guaranteed some of the suppliers. The government will give the unions an ownership in the new company. The government has negotiated deals with the banks that hold Chrysler's debt. Unfortunately they have taken no action to protect individuals, like myself, who have been injured by Chrysler. (I don't believe this is intentional, I just don't think the administration realizes this particular consequence of Chrysler's bankruptcy.)
There is a great opportunity for this injustice not to occur! Since the United States government is controlling the purse strings and financing the sale of Chrysler, it could also make sure that people like me have an opportunity to hold Chrysler accountable for the injuries that their products have caused! I am part of the majority that voted for change, and I support the decisions that the Obama administration has made to lead us out of this economic crisis. The Obama administration now has the perfect opportunity to show that their promise of change is not an empty promise by protecting people who have been injured by Chrysler from being swept under the rug during this bankruptcy!
I have written to both of the Indiana US Senators, my Congressman, and President Obama about this issue. As of yet there has been no response from any of them, even though they know immediate action must be taken! The government has used our tax money to save Chrysler, the banks, and the unions. Now it is time for them to show that they can also protect those of us who have been caught up in the wake! Our representatives in the government and our President are the ones who need to make this happen!
I, and others like me desperately need your help! I am asking for everyone who reads this to contact their US Senators, Congressmen, and the President THIS WEEK to make them aware of this issue. Tell them to put pressure on the administration to ensure that cases like mine are not ignored! Demand that, when the Treasury Department handles this bankruptcy, they include case appropriate settlements for liability claims like mine, or allow them to be settled through court with the new Chrysler corporation! The bottom line is that they cannot allow people who have been injured by Chrysler to be swept under the rug!
The best way to find out how to contact your Senators and Congressmen is to go to your state's website. (The one for Indiana is www.indiana.gov) From there you should be able to find your Legislator's and their contact info including phone/fax numbers and email addresses. In many cases you can email them directly from the state website. You can email President Obama from the www.whitehouse.gov website.
For those of you contacting your Senators, Congressmen/women, and President Obama's administration (I cannot stress how important it is that you all contact them!) please mention the following. If Chrysler is allowed to use this bankruptcy to dodge their product liabilities it will set a precedent for how future bankruptcies are handled! If GM, or any other manufacturer, files for bankruptcy they will be allowed to do the same thing! Our government must protect the people who have been injured and guarantee our right to have our cases heard in court!
This is extremely urgent! The bankruptcy proceedings and sale of Chrysler is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27th! Due to Memorial Day, this week and next are both short weeks. There are only a few days left! Please raise your voices and join me in taking a stand to ensure that people with legitimate injuries are protected! Thank you.
PS: We will get together again, that was way too much fun and this time maybe a little less wine.
Is there by chance any sort of online petition we can sign? I'm sure everyone who reads your story would take action and sign right away.
p.s. I also contacted the VP's office since he's been charged with overseeing how bailout $ gets distributed.
Senator Lugar. Check.
Senator Bayh. Check.
Looking forward to hearing how your day went!!