It was just recently announced that 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin was killed when his car rolled backward, crushing him against a mailbox and security fence. While it’s unsure exactly what happened - if something in the car was defective, or if Yelchin accidentally left the car in neutral - it’s not an uncommon occurrence.
Anton Yelchin A ccidentally Crushed By Own Car
Yelchin rose to fame in movies such as JJ Abrams' Star Trek (in which he played Pavel Chekov), the 2006 crime thriller Alpha Dog, Charlie Bartlett, Like Crazy, and The Beaver.
As Jenny Houser, a spokeswoman for the LAPD, told the Hollywood Reporter during the announcement of the actor’s untimely death: “It appears he momentarily exited his car and it rolled backward, causing trauma that led to his death.”
Friends of the actor alerted police when Yelchin failed to turn up to a rehearsal scheduled earlier in the evening. Yelchin was then discovered in his driveway at around 1am. No other vehicles are believed to have been involved in the accident and the cause of death is being reported as accidental.
While shocking and incredibly sad, these types of freak accidents occur often.
Death of Rose and Roy Coats
While it’s unsure if Yelchin’s accident was indeed caused by a defect in his car, or if perhaps the actor had just accidentally left the car in neutral, false park defects are responsible for deaths every year.
In 2011 Rose Coats and her husband Roy were killed when a false park defect in their 2008 Dodge Caravan caused the car to roll backwards.
Rose, 75, and Roy, 83, pulled their 2008 Dodge Caravan into the garage of their home in the Riverside County town of Menifee, California. Rose, who had been driving, stepped out of the car with the motor still running. She obviously must have believed the car was in park because she moved behind it. She was crushed against the garage door where she suffocated to death. Roy was knocked down and suffered a fatal heart attack.
False Park Defect
The lawsuit brought by the couple’s children claims the accident was caused by a “false park” defect. A “false park,” also known as a “park to reverse” defect is when the gearshift in an automatic transmission stops in-between the reverse and park settings, without providing an indication to the driver, who believes they have placed the motionless vehicle in park. Because the gearshift is in an unstable position between gears any slight movement can cause the vehicle to self-shift into reverse. If the vehicle is still running, the vehicle will reverse with power, and can run over any driver or bystander that accidentally gets in its way. According to the lawsuit, after Rose Coats exited the car, believing it to be in it unexpectedly shifted into reverse and struck both of them.
According to the family’s lawyers, between 2000 and 2006, Chrysler conducted voluntary recalls of Ram and Dodge Dakota pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees because of similar defective mechanisms. An auto defects researcher of other “false park” claims that have been brought against Chrysler offered testimony for the family’s side, citing a 1990-91 investigation conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that found several hundred similar incidents that resulted in 109 injuries and seven deaths.
Legal Responsibility When Car Accidentally Crushes Driver
Hundreds of people have suffered debilitating injuries or death when their vehicles unexpectedly moved into reverse. Still, the manufacturers of these automobiles have refused to accept legal responsibility for these injuries. Instead, they typically blame the driver for the accident while denying their vehicle has been manufactured with a defect.
What to Do
Just as with any other personal injury accident, such as a car or bus accident, a construction accident, or an elevator accident, you will want to work with a personal injury attorney. You’ll want to act quickly if you wish to file a lawsuit, as many accidents have limits regarding when a suit can be brought. Because of this you’ll want to work with a lawyer immediately so they will be able to bring your case to justice. Here are some things you’ll want to prepare for your first meeting with your lawyer:
- Record all the particulars of the accident: when it occurred, where it took place, what time. You’ll want to make sure you write down anything and everything that you remembered about the events leading up to, during, and after the accident.
- Were there any witnesses? Did anyone see the accident happen? Record their information, including name and contact information.
- If you are injured, seek immediate medical attention. Try to record the specifics of your injuries. This includes medical records, photos of injuries, if possible, and doctor’s notes if you can obtain them.
Your lawyer will use all this information and perform an extensive investigation so that they can piece together what happened during the accident and how to represent you should you need to go to trial. Try to give your lawyer as much information as possible. You never know how one small piece of evidence can help build a strong case.
Despite the fact that both people involved in the accident were killed, Coats family was legally able to file a lawsuit against Chrysler. While any amount of money will not bring back a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide necessary compensation to help ease any financial burdens on the surviving family members.
If you and your family are forced to deal with the wrongful death of a loved one, it is essential that you know your rights and work with an attorney who can assist you with your wrongful death claim in a compassionate and sensitive way.
The personal injury attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC are well versed in handling cases of wrongful death and will support you in maneuvering the profound emotional trauma and potentially large financial burdens associated with the loss of your family member.
Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one that resulted from the negligence or misconduct of another, allow the attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC to educate you about your rights and to assist you in filing a wrongful death claim. You, the distributee, may seek monetary damages and compensation over the financial and/or emotional loss of your loved one. Wrongful death claims are time sensitive, so it is imperative that you contact a wrongful death attorney immediately if you have recently lost a loved one from the negligence or misconduct of another.
Wrongful death can be defined as a fatality resulting from the negligence, recklessness or deliberate, malicious behavior of another. An attorney must ascertain that the accused person exhibited wrongful actions that were the direct cause of the resultant injury and/or death of the victim. Common causes of wrongful death include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, birth injuries, truck accidents, medical malpractice and accidents associated with the workplace.
Different Factors of a Wrongful Death Case
Based on your relationship to the deceased, as well as other factors, you may be entitled to certain benefits and compensations. Whether you are the surviving spouse, children or parents, you may recover the loss of the decedent’s financial and emotional support as well as for your own emotional pain and suffering.
Based on the evidence of your wrongful death case, the court may also impose punitive damages on the defendant that are appropriate to their reckless, intentional and/or negligent behavior.
Working with a Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident
If you have been an victim of a false park defect accident, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney that understands the specific laws around these types of accidents. They will be able to perform a full investigation and build your case. It’s crucial that you work with someone that knows the intricacies of the laws surrounding these types of cases as well as your specific state’s laws. The attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC have experience handling personal injury cases such as manufacturing defects such as false park defects. They will help build a case to ensure you receive everything you need to recover from your specific accident.