Believed by millions to be a safe and luxurious means of transportation, Jeep has established itself as a prominent member of the automotive industry. Their adventurous approach in creating sport utility vehicles (SUVs) has made them one of the most beloved companies in America. Of significant concern, however, are recent reports made by government safety regulators that associate several Jeep models with an increased propensity for fuel fed fires following a rear end collision. According to said regulators, poorly placed gas tanks in three Jeep models may be responsible for an influx of injuries that resulted from fuel fed fires.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Jeep accident that involved a fuel fed fire, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free confidential case evaluation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.
Jeep Fire Lawsuit Overview
The original Jeep was produced in 1941 to serve as the primary lightweight 4-wheel-drive vehicle of the U.S. Army during World War II. However, civilian models were not made available until 1945, making it the oldest sport utility vehicle brand in America. Now a subsidiary of the Chrysler Group LLC, the most recent successor company to the popular brand, Jeeps have become a prominent figurehead in the automotive industry. From adventurous to luxurious, their wide range of models accommodate consumers of every lifestyle.
Unfortunately, however, the popular Jeep brand has recently been tainted by an influx of catastrophic accidents. According to government safety regulators, several Jeep models may exhibit an increased propensity for the development of post-collision fuel fed fires. Subsequently, the problem appears to involve both design and placement defects of gas tanks in several jeep models. Consisting primarily of a plastic composition, the allegedly faulty gas tanks are situated towards the back of the automobile between the rear bumper and axle. In a rear-end collision, the subsequent placement of a plastic tank may create an environment conducive to spreading a fuel fed fire.
Of significant concern, however, are the potentially fatal injuries that occur to those who are involved in post-collision fuel fed fires. Jeep passengers involved in a rear-end collision may be at an increased risk of suffering from severe, life-threatening injuries and burns. Officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have acknowledged a total of 15 Americans that have died in 26 auto accidents involving ruptured gas tanks in Jeep vehicles. Due to the frequency and severity in which these jeep fires have occurred, the NHTSA has initiated an intensive investigation to determine the safety of the Jeep models in question. While no recall has been issued yet, the Chrysler Group LLC may become the target of a massive Jeep fire lawsuit.
Accordingly, Chrysler recently acknowledged that it has settled numerous Jeep fire lawsuits without taking the cases to trial. In doing so, plaintiffs were ordered to sign confidentiality agreements to protect the company from bad publicity and marketing.
Jeep Models Involved In NHTSA Investigation
According to the NHTSA, an analysis of crash data found that deaths from rear-impact crashes and fires occur more often in three Jeep models than in comparable vehicles. Subsequently, the following is a comprehensive list of the Jeep models that are involved in the current NHTSA investigation:
- Grand Cherokees (1993 to 2004)
- Cherokees (1993 to 2001)
- Liberty sport utility vehicles (2002 to 2007)
Fuel Fed Fire Injuries
Vehicle fires that result from an accident are becoming all to common on America’s roadways. While fires are already responsible for a large majority of traffic accident injuries, those of the fuel fed nature are particularly dangerous. Fuel fed fires, as witnessed in past jeep models, are often the result of a poorly placed gas tank or the use of questionable materials. Each of these design flaws exhibit an increased propensity for the creation of a deadly explosion, intense heat and toxic fumes. Fuel fires can result in severe burns and even death. There are about 300,000 car fires each year, killing approximately 500 people and injuring thousands more. Unfortunately, it has come to the attention of the NHTSA that past Jeep models may increase the risk of a fuel fed fire if they are rear-ended.
Officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were made aware of the increasing association between several Jeep models and rear-end collision fuel fed fires in 2010. Accordingly, it was the consumer advocacy group, Center for Auto Safety, that petitioned for the NHTSA conduct a probe into whether or not several jeep models were prone to accidents involving fuel fed fires.
According to the 2009 petition, “the design is so bad that Chrysler frequently settles lawsuits without extensive discovery and subject to confidentiality agreements. A search of NHTSA’s FARS files for fatal fire crashes where there was a fire occurrence in a 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee from calendar year 1992 through 2008 found 172 fatal fire crashes with 254 fatalities.”
The influx of injuries pertaining to the development of fuel fed fires has caused the regulatory agency to reevaluate their position on additional Jeep models. In June of 2012, the NHTSA upgraded the investigation from preliminary status to an engineering analysis “to determine whether the subject vehicles contain a defect that presents an unreasonable risk to safety.” The upgraded investigation now includes nearly 5.1 million vehicles and is focused on the SUV’s gas tanks. While action has yet to be taken, Clarence Ditlow, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety, acknowledged that is only a matter of time before Chrysler is forced to recall the defective vehicles and face a potentially massive Jeep fire lawsuit.
Do I Have a Jeep Fire Lawsuit?
The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in Jeep fire lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one has been injured in a Jeep accident that involved a fuel fed fire, you should contact our lawyers immediately by clicking the link below or calling toll free 1-800-773-0849. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.