1.4 Million Ram Pickups Recalled for Tailgates Can Fly Open When in Motion
Fiat Chrysler is recalling about 1.4 million Ram pickup trucks in the United States and Canada to fix a vehicle defect, which could result in their tailgates flying open while the vehicle is moving. According to a Daily Mail news report, the recall covers Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks with power locks from the 2015 through 2017 model years. The company says in that if the tailgates open, unsecured cargo could fly onto the road and cause crashes or injuries to others on the roadway. So far, there have been no reports of crashes or injuries, according to the automaker.
U.S. government documents say Fiat Chrysler received more than 5,800 complaints and warranty claims over the issue. When the recall begins Sept. 14, dealers will fix the tailgate locking mechanism at no cost to owners. Pickup trucks with 8-foot cargo beds are also not affected as is the recently redesigned 2019 Ram, which has a different locking system. Until the vehicles are repaired, Fiat Chrysler warns vehicle owners to secure all loose cargo while driving.
Accidents Caused by Roadway Debris
Roadway debris caused more than 200,000 crashes with 500 deaths between 2011 and 2014 across the Unites according to a study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. More than one-third of the deaths resulted from a driver swerving to avoid hitting debris, the report said. In other cases, cars struck the debris, sometimes setting off a chain reaction of collisions.
These types of accidents could result in major injuries or even fatalities. When tailgates don’t work as intended and fly open when the vehicle is in motion, any loose cargo that is not properly secured can spill over on the roadway cause other vehicles to crash into the debris and go out of control. When smaller vehicles such as motorcycles crash into spilled debris or are struck by flying debris, it could result in fatal injuries.
While drivers of vehicles might be held liable for accidents involving spilled debris, in cases where a vehicle defect caused debris to spill onto the roadway, the automaker can also be held liable for the injuries and damages caused. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Families that have lost loved ones in such tragic accidents can also seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. An experienced auto defect lawyer can help injured victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.