Issues Concerning Potential Fuel Tank Explosion Injuries

When you get into a car, you think about checking your oil, water, gas, and tires. Rarely would the thought of the placement of the fuel tank be a matter of concern. However, for some car owners, this may be of primary importance.

Design defects in cars have lately been prominent because of the alarming number of cars from General Motors that experienced ignition switch-related accidents, resulting in at least 13 deaths and numerous injuries. Design defects in fuel tank placement, on the other hand, was last the subject of litigation in 1972 when the lack of protective reinforcement between the fuel tank and differential in the Ford Pinto (1971-1980) was alleged to have caused a deadly gas-fueled fire after a rear collision (Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co.).

While the fuel tank did not precisely explode in that particular case, the resulting fire was devastating. It resulted in severe burns and eventual death of the driver and permanent, disfiguring burns over the entire body of a 13-year-old passenger, which required multiple skin-graft surgeries to repair. In the ensuing product liability case, the explosion lawyer representing the victims was able to prove that Ford was aware of the potential for danger because of the car’s design but did nothing to remedy it. The California courts eventually awarded compensatory damages ($2.5 million) and punitive damages ($3.5 million) to the plaintiffs.

More recently, investigations are ongoing regarding the potential for danger over the placement of the fuel tank behind the rear axle of the Jeep Grand Cherokee (1993 to 2004 models). So far, 72 deaths by fuel tank fire have been associated with 51 accidents with the relevant car models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) looked into the matter and concluded that there appeared to be a higher incidence of fuel tank fires with rear end collisions with the Grand Cherokee than comparative models.

Injuries sustained from fuel tank explosions may very well be the result of someone else’s negligence. In these instances, the negligent party should be help responsible and financial compensation may be available.

Sex-based Employment Discrimination in New York

All states in the US, save for Montana, practice at-will employment, which means that an employer may terminate an employee without having to show just cause, unless it is specifically stated in an employment contract, the employee handbook, or implied by the employer. However, there is a firm exception to at-will employment: discrimination.

An employee cannot be terminated or otherwise singled out because he or she is a member of a statutorily protected class, and that includes gender and gender identity. Sex-based employment discrimination is prohibited under federal laws including the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act. These laws specifically target activities such as hiring, promoting, work assigning, evaluating, compensating, disciplining, and terminating employees.

While there are no laws at the federal level expressly forbidding employment discrimination for individuals who have had gender re-assignment or have otherwise chosen not to conform to traditional gender roles, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that this type of sex-based employment discrimination is in violation of Title VII. In other words, an employer cannot decline to hire an otherwise qualified candidate based solely on the fact that Jack is now Jill or vice versa.

New York state laws apply most of these federal mandates, but not all. While it recognizes non-conformist sexual orientation as a protected class, there is no state-wide law that expressly protects transgenders. There are some cities that enforce transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws, specifically New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, Rochester and Ithaca, but not others.

If you work in New York City and have experienced sex-based discrimination in the workplace, you should consult with a New York City discrimination lawyer to find out what your legal options are. You will need to file a complaint first with the EEOC for administrative remedies, but even then it would be best to have competent legal representation to cross the Ts and dot the Is.