Slow Recall Repairs Mean Jeep Drivers Still Dying in Gas Tank Fire

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Affected Jeep Models May Catch Fire If Rear-Ended

It has been over eighteen months since the June, 2013 recall was issued for Jeeps that have been found to have exploding gas tanks when rear-ended. However, more than 1 million of the defective vehicles are still on the road and deaths are still being caused by the defective condition.

According to top safety regulators, the affected Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee models suffer from a design flaw in which the gas tank is position in such a way that it is highly vulnerable to being punctured in a rear-impact accident. Specifically, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that by locating the gasoline tank between the axle and the bumper, rather than in front of the bumper, Chrysler made the vehicles less safe than they could be. Affected models include Jeep Liberty SUVs manufactured from 2002-2007 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs manufactured from 1993-1998.

Because of this alleged design defect, when a vehicle is struck from behind, the gas tank can be ruptured, causing gasoline to come into contact with sparks from the collision and leading to the vehicle being set on fire. Government regulators have connected Jeep gasoline tank fires to 38 crashes and 56 fatalities which occurred prior to the June 2013 recall. Since the government recall was initiated, an additional six individuals have been killed in Jeep gas tank explosion accidents, according to a tally maintained by the Center for Auto Safety.

Vehicles subject to the recall are being retrofitted with a trailer hitch, which is suppose to help protect the fuel tank on the affected models. However, the current rate of repairs has been described as “woeful” by David Friedman, the deputy director of the NHTSA. This is because FCA US, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV division that owns the Jeep brand, has only repaired about 3 percent of the estimated 1.56 million recalled vehicles in the past six months.

Florida Wrongful Death Actions

Florida’s Wrongful Death Act allows a deceased individual’s personal representative to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the survivors and the victim’s estate to recover for negligent or wrongful conduct that caused the deceased individual’s death. Survivors may include a spouse, child, parent, or other relative that depended upon the deceased individual for physical, financial, or other types of support.

While monetary compensation is not sufficient to replace a loved one, the law does hold wrongdoers responsible for their actions in that it provides compensation to relatives who depended on the deceased individual for financial and emotional support. The amount of compensation awarded is intended to fairly and adequately compensate the victim’s survivors for their loss, injury, and economic damages. Some factors that may be considered in determining the degree of loss include:

  • the value of lost support and services from the date of the deceased individual’s injury to the time of his or her death, with interest
  • the future loss of support and services from the date of death
  • the amount of the deceased individual’s probable net income available to the survivor
  • the replacement value of the deceased individual’s services to the survivor
  • a surviving spouse may recover for loss of companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering
  • minor children may recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, as well as for mental pain and suffering
  • a survivor who has paid medical or funeral expenses related to the deceased individual’s injury or death may recover those expenses

Tallahassee Legal Help In Wrongful Death Situations

The tragic death of a loved one can be extremely shocking. However, it is extremely important that dependents of an individual who is wrongfully killed seek immediate legal help to protect their legal rights to financially recover for their losses. This is because, in Florida, there is a two year statute of limitation on filing a wrongful death action.

To find out more about your legal options, call the knowledgeable and helpful Tallahassee and Southern Georgia car accident attorneys at Fasig & Brooks today at (850) 222-3232 or use our online contact form to reach us and take advantage of our free, no-obligation consultation. We help clients throughout Florida and South Georgia, including Ft. Walton Beach, Gretna, Havana, Jacksonville, Gadsden County, Miami, Panama City, Pensacola, Quincy, and the metro-Tallahassee area.