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Defective Product Results in Actor’s Death – Are More Lawsuits on the Horizon for Chrysler?

When it was first investigated, the death of the young “Star Trek” movie star, Anton Yelchin, seemed to be just a freak accident; however, now it is thought that it may be connected to a known issue with this popular SUV.

Anton’s body was found pinned in between his vehicle and a fence by his Jeep Grand Cherokee. After Yelchin had exited the vehicle, it continued rolling, trapping him in this position.

In April of 2016, Fiat Chrysler had recalled a total of 1.1 million vehicles that were equipped with what was referred to as a monostable shifter. This is a system that had been determined to be a bit confusing for drivers. Rather than the shift lever resting in a groove, when it is pointed, such as neutral or park, the lever moves back to the default position.

This makes it quite easy for drivers to jump out of the stationary vehicle and not realize it is still in drive. Due to this issue, the car manufacturer has had a total of 308 property damage reports, 212 crashes and 41 injuries related to the shifting mechanism.

In response to these shifting issues, the FCA sent out a statement that read the vehicles delivered alert messages and chimes if the driver side door was opened while the engine was still on and “PARK” had not been engaged. However, after further investigation, it was discovered that these measures may have been insufficient to deter some people from getting out of the vehicle prior to putting it into the “PARK” gear. At this point, FCA US stated it would address the issue by enhancing the warnings and the shift strategy for these vehicles.

There was no specification regarding what these enhancements would be.

The company has let consumers of this vehicle know about the problem that is present. Recall notices were sent via mail to consumers and the news media was alerted to the issues that are present. There were a number of other news organizations that also covered this recall in hopes of informing all drivers.

Unfortunately, many drivers have an attitude about this recall of if it is not broken, there is no need to fix it. However, this is not a good stance to take, especially with all the issues that have arisen due to this faulty component.

If a person is driving this type of vehicle, now is the time to take action. Due to the recall that has been issued, the ability for others who are injured to file a lawsuit may be limited quite a bit. The best course of action is to take the vehicle in for service and repair prior to an issue arising.