On April 2, 2015, a jury in Decatur County, Georgia returned a verdict of $150 million to the parents of a 4-year-old boy whose Jeep fire death was allegedly caused by a defectively designed gas tank in a 1999 Grand Cherokee. According to the federal government, at least 75 people have died in accidents involving Jeep fuel tank fires since 1998. In 2013, automaker Fiat Chrysler agreed to recall millions of 1993-2007 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs because of fuel tank concerns.
If you have been injured or a loved one killed in a vehicle fire involving a recalled Jeep or other type of car, contact Attorney Group to learn more about your options. We offer free, confidential consultations with no obligation on your part. We can help answer your questions, and if you have a case we can connect you with an affiliated product recall attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
Jury: Automaker Acted with “Reckless Disregard for Human Life”
The jury in the Georgia Jeep fire death case found that Fiat Chrysler “acted with ‘reckless or wanton disregard for humanlife in the design or sale’ of the Jeep SUV and failed to warn that the vehicle was hazardous,” according to an article about the case in the Wall Street Journal. According to the evidence presented at trial, the automaker knew that the fuel tank in the Grand Cherokee posed a threat of a fire danger due to its placement at the rear of the vehicle, but that it failed to warn consumers of the danger.
In the accident giving rise to the Georgia Jeep fire lawsuit, a pickup truck struck the Grand Cherokee from behind at a high rate of speed, allegedly causing a fire in which the boy burned to death. $30 million of the verdict was attributable to the 4-year-old’s pain and suffering, with the remaining $120 million to account for the loss of the boy’s life.
Reports: Automaker Initially Resisted Recall; Attempted to Deflect Blame for Death
According to Reuters, before agreeing to the 2013 recall “Chrysler initially denied there was a safety issue,” with its vehicles, despite the fact that the “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has linked more than 50 deaths to the fuel-tank issues.” At trial, the automaker’s lawyers attempted to blame the boy’s death on the driver of the pickup and said that fire did not cause the boy’s death. The jury, after hearing all the evidence, disagreed and only apportioned 1% of fault for the boy’s death to the pickup driver. 99% of the responsibility fell on Fiat Chrysler.
More Jeep Fire Death Lawsuits Expected
A second case involving similar facts to the Georgia Jeep fire death is scheduled for a January 2016 trial in California. Another case is pending involving a 23-year-old woman who died in a fiery Jeep crash outside Detroit. According to legal experts, cases involving Jeep fire deaths, the GM ignition switch recall, and the Takata airbag recall have prompted both government regulators and personal injury attorneys to more closely scrutinize automotive injuries and deaths. In light of the Georgia jeep fire death verdict, it is anticipated that injured parties and their attorneys will more vigorously pursue cases already filed and look more closely at other cases that may have otherwise had less compelling facts.
Questions About Jeep Fire Deaths and Recalls? Contact Us.
If you would like to learn more about Jeep fire deaths and recalls, or if you or a loved one was injured or killed in a vehicle fire, contact Attorney Group. We can help answer your questions and discuss your options in a confidential, no obligation consultation. If you have a case, we can connect you with an affiliated product recall attorney who can assist you in recovering the compensation to which you may be entitled. The time to file a lawsuit is limited, so contact us today.