The parents of Anton Yelchin-an actor known for his roles in the recent Star Trek movies-have filed a negligence and product liability lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) over the death of their son.
Anton Yelchin died on June 19 after his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backward down a steep driveway and crushed him against a brick wall and fence. According to the lawsuit, Yelchin’s Grand Cherokee did not engage or maintain its “park” setting. The vehicle was one of the more than 1.1 million cars and SUVs under recall because of the danger that such vehicles can roll away after drivers exit them.
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) warned drivers in late April of a defect in 2015 Grand Cherokees. The affected vehicles have an electronic shifter, which implements a button to change gears rather than requiring drivers to physically move a lever. As a consequence, drivers may mistakenly believe their car is in park when it is actually in neutral or drive. FCA has not acknowledged a mechanical flaw in its transmission gear selectors, but has urged customers to follow instructions in their owners’ manuals and the information cards sent with their recall notices, including a recommendation that drivers always set the parking brake prior to getting out of the vehicle.
Yelchin’s death is the first known fatality linked to vehicles affected by this recall. However, it is believed to be the cause of 68 injuries, 266 crashes, and 308 reports of property damage.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a defective vehicle, please contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by calling at 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884 for a confidential consultation.