Some older Jeeps with rear gas tanks are known to have a defect that can lead to serious fires and even explosions. The Jeep manufacturer – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) – equipped the Jeep SUVs in question with gas tanks that are located at the very rear (next to the bumper), which is closely associated with the increased risk of both fires and explosions. When the federal government asked that the company recall the vehicles, FCA went in a different direction, and it put a lot of people at increased risk in the process.
Anyone who believes they have a jeep fire claim should discuss the matter with an Atlanta accident attorney.
The Jeeps Affected
Unfortunately, this serious Jeep issue is not limited to one model or even to one year. In fact, all of the following years and models are affected:
- Jeep Grand Cherokees from 1993 to 2004
- Jeep Liberties from 2002 to 2007
- Jeep Cherokees from 1993 to 2001
When these vehicles are hit from behind – or are involved in accidents in which the SUV’s rear is affected – it can lead to fiery explosions that are exactly as dangerous as they sound.
Instead of a Recall
The options available to Jeep included all the following:
- Taking the affected models off the road
- Moving the gas tanks in the affected models
- Installing tank bladders in the affected models
- Taking another effective approach in response to the concern
Instead of engaging in any of the above, Jeep provided owners of the above models with free trailer hitches that were intended to provide a protective buffer, but that decidedly did not.
The Tow Package Does Not Protect the Tank
According to The New York Times, one of Chrysler’s own executive engineers at the time the Jeeps in question were designed shared that the tow hitches were not designed for the purpose of protecting gas tanks. The engineer’s exact words (in a past deposition for a wrongful death claim) were – The tow package does not protect the tank. The skid plate underneath only protects the tank from stones from the ground. In other words, Chrysler’s meager attempts at rectifying the problem did nothing more than provide consumers with ill-founded hope.
The Wrongful Death Claim in Question
The wrongful death claim above stemmed from an accident in which a woman’s 1996 Grand Cherokee exploded into fire in a struck-from-behind accident. Chrysler’s take on the matter is that other SUVs from the same era would have performed similarly, but NHTSA countered with the comment that the Jeeps in question contain defects related to motor vehicle safety.
Consult with an Experienced Product Liability Attorney Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Jeep fire, you likely face profound physical, financial, and emotional losses. Our product liability attorneys at Spaulding Injury Law in Georgia, we understand the gravity of your claim and are well prepared to zealously advocate for your legal rights and for the compensation to which you are entitled. Your claim and your recovery are important, so please do not wait to contact or call us at 770-744-0890 for a free case consultation today.