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Jeep Grand Cherokee Gearshift Defect May Have Contributed to Actor Anton Yelchin’s Death

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2016 | Firm News

The death of actor Anton Yelchin is one more example of the serious danger posed to due to a gearshift defect that was the subject of a Jeep Grand Cherokee recall in 2016. The defect has already fueled several lawsuits against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. According to US Weekly, Yelchin died of blunt traumatic asphyxia when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against his security fence and brick mailbox. Yelchin’s Jeep was recalled in April 2016 – along with 1.1 million other Fiat Chrysler vehicles – due to a defective gearshift.  The Gearshift, called a “ZF shifter”, rested in a central position giving no indication to the driver that the vehicle was securely parked. This defect allegedly contributed to more than 200 accidents and 40 injuries.

There is also a pending multi-million-dollar class action against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over the recalled shifter design by owners of 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and 2012 to 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. The owners allege that FCA concealed the shifter’s problems.
On top of restitution, the class action suit is demanding a court order force FCA to issue a do-not-drive warning to owners of affected vehicles until it fixes the problem and aims to force the manufacturer to install an override system to put the vehicle in park if the front brake is released and the driver’s door is open. FCA started distributing a software fix to dealers – according to the WSJ, the update will add more warnings about the shifter’s position and will automatically kick the vehicle into park if the driver steps out.

If you drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, or Dodge Charger, you should immediately visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to learn if your vehicle was recalled. If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to an automobile defect, contact Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP, who have already been retained by an individual seriously injured as a result of the gearshift defect.

A personal-injury attorney in New York City will evaluate your crash to determine if you have grounds for a claim. You may be entitled to compensation for health-care bills, lost income, and noneconomic damages.

Call 917-730-7151 to schedule a free initial consultation with an accident lawyer from Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP. Until then, read on to learn more about vehicle recalls:

What Is a Vehicle Safety Recall?

As the NHTSA explains, safety recalls happen when there are obvious or potential safety issues with a vehicle or an auto part. The manufacturer may identify the problem and issue a recall voluntarily, or the U.S. Food & Drug Administration or NHTSA can request a recall if it receives reports about harmful defects.

There are many reasons why a vehicle safety recall might happen. Examples include:

  • Faulty steering equipment;
  • Gearshift problems;
  • Defective windshield wipers;
  • Unsafe seatbelts;
  • And airbag defects.

My Vehicle Was Recalled – Now What?

Unfortunately, a significant number of people do not respond to vehicle recalls because they are not informed, they think the issue is minor, or they already have fixed the problem. If you find out that your vehicle was recalled, it is critical that you respond immediately. Most automobile recalls involve safety defects that are life-threatening for drivers, passengers, or other road users.

The manufacturer will have to repair or replace the defective part free of charge. If you already fixed the problem, the manufacturer will have to compensate you for the expense.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to an auto part defect, contact Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP. A New York City accident lawyer will evaluate your case, gather evidence, and help you pursue the maximum compensation.

Our attorneys have been representing the injured for more than 75 years combined. Call 917-730-7151 today to schedule a free initial consultation.