Cars and trucks may burst into flames if they are involved in terrible accidents. However, in some cases, a design fault may cause a blaze as with defective gas tanks on Chryslers, a problem that led to a series of lawsuits.
In 2015, the Detroit-based automaker was accused of acting with “reckless or wanton disregard for human life” over the design and sale of its Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The automaker was ordered to pay $150 million to the family of a 4-year old boy who burned to death in a crash in Georgia in 2012, reported CBS.
The case came before a court in Decatur County where jurors ruled that Chrysler acted with reckless disregard for human life.
The lawsuit related to Jeeps with gas tanks mounted behind the rear axle. These vehicles were linked to a series of fires when Jeeps were involved in crashes, due to the exposed nature of the tanks.
Remington “Remi” Walden of Bainbridge in Georgia was killed in a fire in a 1999 Jeep with a gas tank mounted behind the rear axle.
The Jeep was engulfed in flames when the child’s aunt was struck from behind by a pickup truck in March 2012. The fuel tank leaked, causing the fatal fire.
The $150 million verdict came after the automaker reached a compromise with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
At the time that 1.5 million vehicles were recalled some critics claimed the action did not go far enough and Chrysler could do more to make its suspect vehicles safer.
Information from federal investigators suggested the vulnerable gas tanks were linked 75 deaths.
During the Georgia trial, Chrysler was found to be 99 percent at fault for the crash.
Jurors said they were concerned that Chrysler failed to warn the family of the dangers of driving the Jeep. They awarded the Waldens $30 million for Remi’s pain and suffering and $120 million for the value of his life.
The year 2015 was dominated by dangerous defects in the auto industry. A faulty ignition switch on some General Motors cars was linked to 124 deaths and 275 injuries to drivers, reported Fortune.com.
More recently, the mass Takata air bag recall has been linked to deaths. These air bags can unexpectedly explode, sending shrapnel into drivers or passengers.
If you have been hurt by a defective car component, please call us today for a free consultation at (404) 913-1529.