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Popular SUVs subject to product liability claims by HTSA

Going to buy a new car is an exciting time for many people in and around Boston. With so many options available, people can customize the color, upholstery, technical features and many other specifics about their chosen vehicles. In all of the fun of deciding what to buy, some people may forget to investigate if their vehicles of choice are sufficiently safe for their needs.

The auto manufacturer Chrysler is subject to claims of product liability by the Highway Transportation Safety Administration for what the government agency claims to be poorly placed gas tanks on some of Chrysler's popular Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicle models. The HTSA's investigations show that 37 fatal accidents have occurred in the two models where the gas tank's placement caused fires. More than 50 consumer deaths resulted from those accidents.

Chrysler has refused to issue a recall for the affected Jeep models and an industry expert anticipates that the company's refusal to do so is based upon economic factors. To recall all of the Jeep Grand Cherokees from 1993 to 2004 and Jeep Liberties from 2002 to 2007 would cost Chrysler around $300,000,000. While Chrysler claims that its vehicles are safe and that the noted Jeep models do not suffer from automobile design defects, HTSA claims that the rear placement of the SUVs gas tanks make them dangerous in rear collisions.

Automobile accidents can cause devastating injuries to the drivers and passengers involved, but when faulty vehicles exacerbate the dangerous conditions surrounding car crashes, the manufacturers of those vehicles should be held accountable for selling dangerous and defective products. Individuals who have been injured due to automobile design defects of other product liability matters have legal rights against the producers of such products and may seek damages against responsible parties.

Source: WPRI Eyewitness News, "Chrysler will not recall Jeeps," John Mitchell, June 9, 2013

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