Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty Causing Personal Injury and FatalitiesMark Clore ·
According to Bloomberg news, a wrongful death lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler is reigniting the debate over the safety of two Jeep models. The 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty have been under investigation by the NHTSA for years. Poor placement of the gas tank has led to numerous fatalities, and incidents of personal injury near Charleston and throughout the United States. A Four-Year-Old Boy Was Among the Victims The evidence being presented against Fiat Chrysler in an ongoing trial, per Bloomberg, is nothing short of heart-wrenching. In 2012, young Remington "Remi" Walden was traveling with his aunt in a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Following standard safety protocol for tots, the boy was in the back seat, and strapped into booster, when the vehicle was rear-ended. The Bloomberg article is fairly graphic, no doubt the jurors will hear even more of the sad tale, but to summarize, Remi was alive and aware of what was happening when the SUV erupted in flames and killed him. NHTSA Says Jeep was Aware of the Defect According to a letter that the NHTSA sent Chrysler, manufacturers haven't been placing gas tanks behind the rear axle since the 1970s. In 1978, Chrysler acknowledged this in an internal memo, and said their newer models would have the tank below the rear seat, to protect it from being damaged in a collision. The Grand Cherokee and Liberty, however, have the tank behind the axle, which makes them vulnerable. Especially in rear-end collisions, they can rupture, and the rear of the vehicle catches fire. Sadly, Chrysler decided that their own investigation provided more accurate results, and they decided not to perform the recall as the NHTSA recommended. The Personal Injury Count Continues to Rise The NHTSA's 2013 letter said that investigators had attributed at least 37 fatal rear impact fire crashes, which resulted in the deaths of 51 people, to poor placement of the gas tank. Bloomberg cites more recent statistics, and reports that the death toll has risen to 75, as of March, 2015.No data could be found to indicate the number of non-fatal, injury-causing accidents involving leaks and/or fires, though surely the numbers would be alarming. So far, Chrysler has only provided tow hitches for some of the vehicles, which they said would reduce the likelihood of gas tank damage in a rear collision. However, the tank sits just 11 inches from the rear bumper, placing it well within the standard "crunch zone" of rear collisions.
Charleston Personal Injury AttorneyYet again, an automotive manufacturer has chosen to keep a dangerous product on the market. There's really no telling how many people will be hurt or killed before this concludes, either. It's also possible that many incidents will go undetected, as owners are often unaware of underlying contributors in fatal and injury-causing collisions. If you've been hurt, or have lost a loved one, and you believe that a vehicle defect may have been partially at fault, please contact us. You may be able to obtain a reasonable settlement from the manufacturer, and help put an end to negligent manufacturing practices. You can speak with one of our attorneys by calling 1(800)610-2546.
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