By Pendergast Law on September 10, 2017
It was during the last week of August that a woman in Ohio became the latest fatality attributed to unsafe fuel tanks mounted in the back of certain Jeep models. Her death puts the focus back on Chrysler and the recall it issued to resolve the issue back in 2013. As it turns out, the recall just didn’t go far enough.
Why the Recall?
The original problem was that the fuel tanks in Jeeps are placed between the rear suspension and the back bumper. Because of this, when a Jeep gets hit from behind, that fuel tank can easily spark and catch fire, which could prove disastrous for those in and around the vehicle.
In 2013, more than one million Jeep SUVs were outfitted with trailer hitches that were meant to provide a barrier between a colliding vehicle and the gas tank so it didn’t spark. This woman’s model, a Jeep Liberty, had the necessary installation according to the recall. Obviously, the hitch didn’t keep her safe. The worst part? It was known that the trailer hitches did not entirely correct the problem.
Was Chrysler Negligent?
When Fiat Chrysler made a statement about this latest death, it also emphasized that the safety measures taken had met or exceeded all federal safety standards. But that’s just not true.
Back in 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that while the trailer hitches would most likely protect people in crashes that included only moderate speeds, they wouldn’t provide additional safety in crashes involving high speeds. And the car that crashed into the woman’s Jeep is believed to have been speeding at the time.
It’s unclear whether or not Fiat Chrysler is going to make additional improvements to make Jeeps safer. But if the company doesn’t, it could be facing a number of personal injury lawsuits. Manufacturers do not even have to be aware of a design flaw to be sued when their products end up hurting people. In this case, Fiat Chrysler was certainly aware. If the manufacturer chooses not to resolve the problem, it could even mean a class action lawsuit if enough people are injured.
If you have been hurt in a car accident and you believe the car manufacturer was to blame, contact Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at 888-539-9211. When companies allow dangerous auto parts or products to stay on the market and people are hurt, we will hold them responsible for those choices.