Is an Insufficient Jeep Recall Solution to Blame for Ohio Woman’s Death?

After a woman died in a Jeep Liberty crash last week, safety advocates are decrying a recall solution they say failed to protect motorists. Vicki Hill of Elyria, Ohio was waiting at a stop light on her commute to work when she was rear-ended. Fuel from the Jeep caught fire, and Hill lost her life.

Hill’s death is one of more than 50 fatalities linked to the defect, according to the Center for Auto Safety. After they investigated the issue in 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that the fuel tanks, which are mounted between the rear suspension and the bumper, were vulnerable to leaks and fires if the vehicles were rear-ended.

NHTSA Approves Trailer Hitch Recall Solution

Fiat Chrysler issued a voluntary recall of 1.56 million Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee SUVs in 2013. The NHTSA agreed to the solution the automaker proposed: installing a trailer hitch to protect the fuel tank.

After the recall, the NHTSA closed its investigation. The agency stated that the trailer hitch provided incremental safety benefits that would protect vehicles in low and moderate crashes. However, they noted that the fix might not be effective in the most severe crashes.

Unfortunately, that seems to have been the case in Hill’s death last week. Fiat Chrysler’s records show that her vehicle had the trailer hitch installed. Safety advocates like Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, say this fatal crash is evidence the recall solution was not sufficient to protect motorists.

However, Fiat Chrysler has stated that Hill’s vehicle, the 2007 Jeep Liberty meets all applicable safety standards. The NHTSA says it will review the information and take appropriate action. The police department investigating the crash has said that excessive speed may have been involved in last week’s fatal crash. However, they have not stated how fast the vehicle was going when it rear-ended Hill’s Jeep.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the victim’s family. Clearly this recall solution needs to be reevaluated for the safety of millions of drivers,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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