The parents of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin are suing the makers of the Jeep Grand Cherokee that crushed and killed the 27-year-old. Victor and Irina Yelchin are claiming wrongful death and product liability against Fiat Chrysler after learning the specific vehicle their son owned was under recall.
Apparently, the gear selector in the Jeep was defective, poorly designed and manufactured. The vehicle rolled backwards down the driveway of the actor’s Los Angeles home on June 19th, pinning him between a letterbox and a security fence. Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.1 million of their vehicles in April due to dozens of reports of injuries caused by faulty gear shifters which failed to engage or maintain their “park” gear, causing the vehicles to roll away unexpectedly. As of late June, a government investigation into the gear shifters revealed as many as 266 crashes and 68 injuries. This lawsuit is believed to be the first wrongful death complaint linked to the April recall. An undated recall letter, which was mailed to Yelchin seven days after his death, states, “your vehicle may roll away, striking and injuring you, your passengers, or bystanders, if the vehicle’s engine is left running, the parking brake is not engaged, and the transmission is not in the ‘PARK’ position before exiting the vehicle.” The Russian-born actor was best known for playing the role of Pavel Chekov in the film reboot of Star Trek, and had been attached to at least four upcoming films. “In spite of our unbelievable grief, we decided to come her to prevent other families from the same tragedy,” said father, Victor Yelchin. The recall applies to 811,000 vehicles in the United States, covering the 2014-2015 model years of the Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle and 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans. Fiat Chrysler announced in June that it would provide software upgrades to fix the problem in all recalled vehicles. The company has not yet commented on the case, but has extended sympathies towards Yelchin’s parents.
If you have experienced wrongful death or personal injury due to vehicle malfunction, the lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck are there for you in your time of need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call (949) 640-8222 for a complimentary case evaluation.