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Chrysler faces wrongful death lawsuit over Jeep Cherokee fire

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Chrysler relating to the horrific death of a woman hit from behind in a traffic accident.

The 32-year-old woman was waiting to make a left turn in Cobb County, Georgia, when the 1996 Jeep Cherokee she was driving was rear-ended by a Volkswagen Jetta. The force of the impact sent the Jeep down the shoulder of the road. The Jeep caught fire, which trapped the woman inside. The gas tank in the Jeep had ruptured during the crash, which caused gas to leak out and ignite. The woman was engulfed by flames and died before she could be rescued.

The woman's Jeep had a Reese Towpower Multi-Fit Receiver hitch on it. The manufacturer of the hitch, Horizaon Global Americas, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, the gas tank's location, coupled with using the trailer hitch, caused the woman to suffer extreme mental anguish, fright, physical injury and finally death. The plaintiffs alleged that Chrysler placed the gas tank behind the rear axle, a known crush zone.

The lawsuit also states that the automaker did not warn the public about this hazard, nor about the risk of using certain trailer hitches on the vehicle. The parents of the deceased woman claim that Chrysler has known for several years that the gas tanks could rupture in Jeep Cherokees. In fact, Chrysler did move the gas tanks to a position "midship." However, that didn't happen until 2005.

If you have a lost a loved one in a car accident that was caused by an automaker's error, you may have a right to seek compensation for your loved one's final expenses, pain and suffering and more. An experienced attorney can help you determine whom to name as defendants in such a case and what compensation to seek. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, a victory can send a strong signal to automakers that errors and defects are never acceptable.

Source: CarComplaints.com, "Lawsuit alleges Jeep Cherokee gas tank caused death," David A. Wood, Dec. 06, 2017

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