This month, Chrysler, Jeep’s parent company, was ordered to uphold a payout to the family of a child who died in an accident involving a Jeep explosion. The Georgia Supreme Court made a decision to award the family $40 million, overturning an initial jury decision of a $150 million payout. Both the family of the child and their legal team are ready to see this case come to a close, as the accident occurred almost six years ago this month.
According to an article by Daily Report, a pickup truck slammed into the back of a 1999 Jeep Cherokee, which then burst into flames, killing 4-year-old Remi Walden. After investigation, the Walden family sued Chrysler, Jeep’s parent company, for wrongful death as a result of the car’s gas tank being placed in the rear of the vehicle. Walden’s family argued that the placement of the gas tank in the rear of the Jeep behind the axel sparked the explosion that took their child’s life.
An initial nine-day trial in Bainbridge, Georgia, ended with the jury awarding the Walden family $120 million for wrongful death and $30 million for pain and suffering. The Decatur County Superior Court Judge reduced the award to a total of $40 million. The verdict found the at-fault driver 1% responsible and appointed the remaining 99% of fault to Chrysler. Chrysler filed a motion for a new trial, however, the Georgia Supreme Court denied the motion as long as the Walden family accepted a lower award.
Chrysler next wants to bring this decision to the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court. The auto company still maintains its argument that the child lost his life because of the driver of the pickup truck, not the placement of the gas tank—despite later changing the placement of the gas tank to the middle of the jeep. A corporate spokesman for Chrysler stated the company was disappointed in the court’s judgment and is considering its legal options. Chrysler maintains, “This tragic crash was caused by a reckless pick-up truck driver who slammed into the rear of a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee at highway speed.”
This case shows that there is sometimes a possibility of fault from a manufacturer in an accident, not just the drivers involved. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury or a wrongful death as a result of a manufacturer error, contact our legal team at Schneider Hammers. We are dedicated to helping those who suffered in an accident and we will fight for a fair outcome.