Most cars contain safety features that cause the vehicle to remain in a stationary position until the operator wants to move the car. After all, if the operator puts the car in “park” they need to be sure it’s ok to exit the vehicle without it rolling away. Unfortunately, many Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler 300 owners don’t have that peace of mind.
In April of 2016, FCA US, LLC, the manufacturer of Chrysler and Jeep, announced it would be recalling over a million vehicles, including certain 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2012-2014 Chrysler 300s, due to design defects with the gear shifter that cause a vehicle to roll away once the operator believes it is in the “park” position.
The gear shifters pose a risk because they fail to show whether the car has actually been placed into the “park” position, as traditional gear shifters do. The gear shifters also lack a safety override that automatically puts the car in “park” if the driver exits the vehicle without doing so. Because of this, over 300 accidents and dozens of injuries have been reported, including the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin.
The Louisiana Products Liability Act (LPLA) provides the exclusive legal remedy against manufacturers when their defective products injure or kill users. If you have been injured because of the roll away defect, three things would need to be shown under the LPLA:
- The car was unreasonably dangerous in construction, composition, design, or unreasonably dangerous due to an inadequate warning or breach of express warranty;
- The unreasonably dangerous characteristic of the vehicle caused the injury; and
- The unreasonably dangerous characteristic existed when it left the manufacturer’s control.
If liability is established against the manufacturer, a victim may recover medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. While it is good the LPLA provides this remedy, it is best to avoid injury by contacting a Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge or RAM dealer to schedule a service appointment.