Chrysler is gearing up to recall approximately 1.6 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Libertys in an attempt to lower the risk of fires caused by read-end collisions. The recall is expected to come after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asserted that the Chrysler Jeep vehicles were more likely than other vehicles to catch on fire when struck from the rear. The NHTSA contends that the gas tanks on these vehicles are directly behind the rear axle, causing them to be more exposed to rear-impact collisions.
Despite denying the NHTSA’s allegations, Chrysler will recall the Jeep vehicles in order to install trailer hitches, which it hopes will protect fuel tanks and thus lower the chance of fires. The recall will affect 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty SUVs. Chrysler plans to notify the owners of these vehicles by sending letters.
Still, many consumer groups doubt how effective a trailer hitch will be at reducing the risk of fires. Many doubts stem from the testimony of Chrysler’s previous vice president for engineering, Francois J. Castaing, who stated during a wrongful death suit involving a Grand Cherokee rear impact fire that a trailer hitch would not protect the tank from fire.
While companies do not intentionally manufacture defective products in terms of its design, manufacturing flaws, and/or inadequate warnings, such incidents do occur. This can be a result of a manufacturer’s negligence or recklessness. If an individual is injured or killed due to such a product defect, the product's manufacturer and/or seller may be held liable for the injuries suffered.
Even if a product has not been recalled, consumers still have the capability to bring a legal action for any injuries suffered due to a defective product as long as the defect is due to a manufacturing error, defective design, or inadequate warnings and/or directions.
Bahe, Cook, Cantley & Nefzger is currently reviewing and accepting these cases.