As I posted in my April 9, 2015 blog post titled, “A $ 150 Million Dollar Verdict in Georgia against Chrysler for the Death of a Young Child Due to an Exploding Gas Tank Exposes the Company to Future Massive Tort Litigation (Video’s of the Trial Included),” a Georgia Jury in Bainbridge, Georgia, just over one week ago, awarded a family who lost their 4-year old son in a 1999 Jeep Cherokee gas tank explosion following a rear end collision, $ 150 Million Dollars in Damages for the loss of their son and for their son’s pain and suffering in his horrific death. In that blog, I stated that the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), after investigating the Jeep’s gas tank design by, among other things, 20 year old data submitted by Chrysler, had determined that the Jeep was an, “unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.”
NHTSA may, however, be changing course in reference to its earlier determination that the Jeep’s gas tank design was safe. Mark Rosakind, the head of NHTSA, told reporters yesterday at the New York International Auto Show at a briefing that he may reopen the investigation of the safety of the older Jeeps’ gas tanks, and that he may even begin a new investigation. Rosalind was quoted as stating, “We’re not satisfied with the current situation, so we are looking for every avenue that would be appropriate for us to take action,” and, “Given all of the stuff that’s going on, we want to figure out what else we can be doing.” Rosakind also stated that he has a group that is organized to look into actions that regulators can take and he has further stated that, “Everything is on the table for us to look at.”
It was Remington Walden’s birthday yesterday, the 4-year old who lost his life in 2012 in that horrible accident, so the remarks from NHTSA were timely. All hope that the NHTSA will finally do the right thing in terms of the investigation and conclusions of the safety of these Jeeps.
Even in light of the recent Jury verdict and NHTSA’s response, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles responded with a statement emailed by a corporate spokesman: “Real-world data show these vehicles have a lower incident rate in rear collisions with fire than 57 other vehicles from their era. NHTSA concluded from its investigation that the vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety. No events that have occurred since NHTSA closed its investigation should affect this conclusion.”
As I stated in my prior blog post, if this case stands the test of time, then it may open the door for many people who have been tragically injured, or their loved ones have been killed under such terrible circumstances, to have legal precedent to seek damages from Fiat Chrysler in amounts well above settlement offers that have been, or may be, on the table.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we are legal experts in Massive Tort Litigation and Product Liability Cases such as this whereby a person, family, loved one, or other has been Catastrophically Injured or Killed in an Accident such as the Accidents that have occurred with the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
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