GM bankruptcy could dictate LI girl's fate

A Smithtown family says if General Motors goes bankrupt, their daughter?s health and their personal finances will be at risk due to a lawsuit they?ve filed against the automaker. The Dinnigans sued GM

News 12 Staff

May 29, 2009, 5:24 PM

Updated 5,529 days ago

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A Smithtown family says if General Motors goes bankrupt, their daughter?s health and their personal finances will be at risk due to a lawsuit they?ve filed against the automaker.
The Dinnigans sued GM after 10-year-old Amanda was left paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident two years ago. The family says a defective seatbelt in her mother?s GMC Envoy nearly strangled her during the crash, which resulted in her injuries.
GM notified the family a couple of weeks ago it will stop negotiations pertaining to the suit. The automaker has until Monday to complete a restructuring plan ordered by the government in exchange for bailout funds. Bankruptcy is likely for GM after a deal with bondholders to exchange debt for stock fell through Wednesday.
The Dinnigans fear they?ll have to settle the lawsuit for next to nothing and say they need the money to care for their daughter. The couple says 24-hour nursing care, supplies and medical bills cost them about $500,000 a year.
"We'll probably have little remedy after [bankruptcy] unless a fund is created to take care of victims like Amanda and pay for their mounting medical expenses,? the Dinnigans? attorney Alan Shapey says.
Amanda?s expenses are being covered by Mr. Dinnigan?s union insurance, but the family says that caps out at $1,000,000 and is close to running out.


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