Family of 4-year old boy awarded $150 Million by jury in Jeep Fuel-Tank-Fire Trial
A quick verdict was passed by the Georgia jury in a law-suit against Chrysler for wrongful-death. It is alleged that the older Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokees have gas tanks which are vulnerable to fires when the vehicle is impacted in a rear-end collision.
Compensation of $150 million was awarded to a family whose four-year-old boy was killed while riding in a Grand Cherokee and the vehicle was hit from behind. 99% percent of the blame was heaped on Chrysler by the jury for the boy’s death, and the driver copped only 1% though the pickup he was manning the Jeep from the rear.
The Jury was swayed by hearing the ghastly testimony that the victim riding at the rear in a booster seat died a horrible death screaming, in the resulting fire, though he only suffered a fracture from the initial impact. The Jury also listed to the FCA chairman Sergio Marchionne’s deposition that pleaded the cause of the accident not due to defective fuel-tank, and the analysis done by the company confirmed it. Chrysler also stressed that the Jeeps in question were performing like the other vehicles from the comparative class available in the market at that time. Chrysler also said that it would be deciding on an appeal.
The Grand Cherokees of 1993-1998, Grand Cherokees of 1999-2004 and the Libertys of 2002-2007 were designed with the fuel tank placed behind the rear axle. After the redesign of the Grand Cherokee 2005, the fuel tank was moved away from the rear bumper. A report resulting from the investigation of the matter by NHTSA says that the death rate in the first generation Grand Cherokee and Liberty were higher than average. Chrysler countered that the fatality rates associated with the vehicles were high-energy, high-speed collisions and the Jeeps are not inferior in safety standard to the contemporary vehicles plying the roads.