SUV accidents always have the potential to cause injuries or even death, but the chance of serious or fatal injuries is often exacerbated when the vehicles are defective. In a recent Georgia accident, a boy was killed when the Jeep in which he was riding burst into flames after being rear ended by another vehicle. Fiat Chrysler may now have to answer for his death and a number of others that occurred in similar SUV accidents.
A family was traveling in a Jeep SUV when another vehicle crashed into the back of it. It is believed that the impact caused the gas tank to rupture, causing gas to be spilled from the tank. The back of the vehicle, where the boy was sitting, then burst into flames. The boy's family has since filed a lawsuit with a Georgia court. Because this is not believed to be the only death caused by a ruptured gas tank in a Jeep, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler has been ordered to testify.
Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requested that the company recall over 2 million of the older model Jeeps due to a number of SUV accidents that ended as fiery disasters. The company declined and were adamant that the Jeeps were safe and, instead, offered to voluntarily modify 1.5 million Jeeps. The company stated that the Jeeps were in line with federal safety standards at the time of their manufacture. The Jeep that was involved in the accident fell into the group recommended for recall by the NHTSA, but was not included in the group modified by the manufacturer.
Federal safety standards are in place not only to ensure that manufacturers maintain high levels of quality, but also to ensure that Americans are protected. A family who has lost a loved one due to a defective product, such as the families involved in the string of fiery SUV accidents, has the right to file a wrongful death claim against the product's manufacturer. If the claim is successful, the family may be awarded damages to cover end-of-life expenses, along with compensation for pain and suffering.
Source: consumeraffairs.com, "CEO ordered to testify in Jeep fire lawsuit", James Hood, Nov. 17, 2014