Car Accident Lawyer
According to CBS News, “test after test” has confirmed the safety hazard Chrysler created by mounting plastic gas tanks at the rear of the Jeep Liberty in model years 2002 to 2007. While the vehicles were eventually recalled, CBS reports that fuel tanks continue to rupture after rear-end collisions, placing drivers and passengers at risk of injury or death in Jeep fires.
Chrysler always maintained that the Liberty’s design had nothing to do with the explosions that follow rear-end crashes. Faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Chrysler negotiated a sweetheart deal with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Chrysler was able to bring NHTSA’s three-year investigation to a close by promising to install a tow package on every Liberty it managed to recall. Chrysler’s CEO and NHTSA’s administrator, David Strickland, negotiated that deal in a private meeting that staff was not allowed to attend. Strickland then took a job with a law firm that lobbies Congress on behalf of Chrysler (now Fiat Chrysler) and other auto manufacturers.
Since Chrysler does not know who purchased a used Jeep Liberty, it has not conducted an effective recall. But the recall might actually make the problem worse, since the impact of a rear-end collision might drive the tow package into the gas tank, increasing the likelihood of a rupture and of igniting fuel.
First Step to Take After a Jeep Liberty Catches on Fire
Survivors of an accident that causes a Jeep Liberty to start on fire should obtain immediate medical attention. Even burns that do not seem serious can become infected, leading to life-threatening health conditions.
Prompt medical treatment is vital to a good recovery from injuries. It is just as important to a claim for compensation. Fiat Chrysler has been held responsible for serious injuries and deaths caused by Jeep Liberty fires. One key to proving that health conditions were caused by the automaker’s negligence is to follow a doctor’s advice.
Discontinuing treatment because it seems futile or time-consuming will encourage Fiat Chrysler to claim that the injury must have healed. Injury victims should follow their physician’s recommendations until they are discharged from care.
Second Step to Take After a Jeep Liberty Catches on Fire
Preserving the remains of the Jeep Liberty is essential to proving the cause of a Jeep fire (https://butlerfirm.com/jeep-fire-cases-practical-issues/). If the fire destroyed the Liberty, the remaining frame and parts should be kept intact to the extent possible. Parts that are no longer attached should be gathered and preserved. The vehicle is evidence. Selling it for salvage might make it impossible to bring a successful claim against Fiat Chrysler.
If the vehicle is still drivable, don’t drive it. Make sure it is transported on a flatbed to a safe location. Your personal injury lawyer will want to have it inspected by experts who can determine the exact cause of the fire.
It is also important to preserve other evidence. Pictures taken at the scene of the accident provide vital information. If nobody is available to take pictures, your personal injury lawyer can have accident reconstruction experts document the scene. The sooner that happens after the vehicle catches on fire, the better the documentation will be.
Third Step to Take After a Jeep Liberty Catches on Fire
Never speak to an insurance adjuster until you obtain legal advice. Making a statement before you know all the facts can jeopardize your ability to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries.
If the Jeep fire caused a death, relatives of the deceased driver and/or passengers may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim against Fiat Chrysler. A wrongful death lawyer in Georgia can explain how to pursue the claim. Asking for legal advice promptly will maximize the opportunity to bring a successful claim.
Thanks to Butler Tobin for their insight into personal injury claims and jeep fires.