This whole saga just keeps getting worse.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is in a bind. We reported a few months ago how the automaker lost a lawsuit filed by the family of Remington Walden. The 4-year-old died when his family’s Jeep Grand Cherokee was rear-ended in 1999. The accident caused the plastic gas tank, mounted right behind the rear axle, to catch fire. The Walden family initially won a sum of $150 million from a Georgia court but that was later reduced to $40 million.
Of that, $30 million is for the wrongful death and $10 million for pain and suffering. Now FCA is fighting the reduced ruling, which the parents accepted. “A $30 million pain-and-suffering award for what plaintiffs acknowledge was at most one minute of suffering is irrational,” the motion to appeal the judgement said. The motion further notes how the largest award for pain and suffering in Georgia’s history was $7 million for a person who was hospitalized for months while paralyzed and in severe pain. If FCA sounds heartless remember that it’s thinking big picture and not just one case. A stunning 75 people died in crash-related fires, with 40 of the victims’ families already having settled with FCA.
The Walden family is the first one to take the automaker to court, and if it wins such a large judgement that could set an expensive precedent. Our advice to FCA is to apologize to the family and settle out of court if possible. Enough damage has already been done.