Jeep Grand Cherokee Burst into Flames, Killing Trapped Passengers

Jeep Grand Cherokee Burst into Flames, Killing Trapped Passengers

Orlando personal injury attorney Sam King cautions Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty owners to be wary about the safety of their vehicles. As an attorney with decades of experience successfully representing injured clients, King is skeptical of Chrysler’s claim that certain Jeep models from1993 to 2004 are safe and points to one recent case as an example.

Last year, Cindi Munoz-Reyes’ husband died in a fiery crash on an Ontario highway, and now she’s speaking out against Chrysler, the car manufacturer she believes is responsible, by filing a wrongful death suit.

The Story Behind the Case

On Jan. 22, 2015, Rosalio Munoz-Reyes and a co-worker were inside a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was rear-ended on the 60 Freeway. Gas tanks on Grand Cherokees from certain model years (including 2000) are situated behind the rear axle, which Munoz-Reyes’ attorney asserts is the reason the Jeep burst into flames seconds after the collision. Rosalio was trapped inside and burned to death, leaving Cindi and their two young children behind.

Chrysler Recall

While most consumers are aware of the General Motors recall due to faulty ignition switches, the Chrysler recall is less-known. In fact, the number of fatalities due to gas tank placement in Jeep’s Grand Cherokee and Liberty is similar to the number of deaths caused by GM’s ignition switches.

In June of 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked Chrysler to recall Grand Cherokees built between 1993 and 1998 due to concerns about gas tanks catching on fire, but there were no recalls for later model years between 1999 and 2004.

Munoz-Reyes’ attorney said, “The company should have been forced to recall all of these vehicles, not just a select group.”

How the Recall Went Wrong

After adamantly resisting a recall, Chrysler finally agreed to a deal with NHTSA to recall some model year vehicles, not correcting the gas tank placement but instead adding a tow hitch. Not only did the recall exclude certain model years that should have been recalled, the “fix” was inadequate. In addition, Chrysler dealers have been slow to address the recall, turning away many Jeep owners by claiming they don’t have the needed parts available. This prompted another letter from NHTSA in late 2015 demanding that Chrysler should quicken their pace.

According to CBS News, “Chrysler still maintains there is no defect, that its vehicles are safe and met all safety standards in place when they were sold.”

Sam King responds: “Knowing that Chrysler insists they are producing safe cars when there is so much evidence to the contrary, consumers should be cautious. The onus is on manufacturers to make safe products, and they need to be held accountable when they fail.”

[photo credit: Petr Magera]


King-e1420497088280Have you or someone you love been injured by a faulty product, be it a car or something else? Contact Samuel P. King, an experienced trial attorney at Dellecker Wilson King McKenna Ruffier and Sos.