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Home » Personal Injury » Death of Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin Spurs Class Action Lawsuit

Death of Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin Spurs Class Action Lawsuit

Anton Yelchin in Star Trek uniform by Fiat Chrysler logoIf you own a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, or any of the other 1.1 million Fiat Chrysler cars that have been recalled for a nonfunctioning gearshift, there’s some organized outrage you should probably look into. After getting crushed to death by his one of these cars on Sunday, June 19, 27-year-old Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin has inspired a class action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Celebrity Car Crashes

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen lawsuits filed against car companies for not properly protecting our celebrities — Paul Walker of Fast and Furious fame passed away after a high-speed car wreck, and his family has been pushing for legal action against his car’s manufacturer ever since.

However, Walker’s incident was quite different from this one. Walker and his friend were driving the car over the speed limit, in the middle of the night, after a night of “fun.” Those circumstances didn’t leave his loved ones with much wiggle room to push back at the auto manufacturer. While it’s possible that Walker’s car had a faulty design which contributed to his death, there were many other factors at play.

Anton Yelchin’s incident, on the other hand, was pretty undeniably not his fault. It also wasn’t the fault of a potentially inebriated friend. No one was around by Yelchin. No, this accident has been labeled as a “freak.” This is due to the fact that Yelchin’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, unmanned, rolled down Yelchin’s steep driveway while Yelchin was at his mailbox, probably getting his mail. The SUV crushed him against the mailbox — the brick mailbox — and according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, Yelchin passed away from blunt traumatic asphyxia just one minute after the car pinned him.

Liability and Car Accidents

As it turned out, Anton Yelchin’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee happened to be one of those Fiat Chrysler vehicles that were recalled by the manufacturer for their “faulty gearshifts.” As previously mentioned, this apparent flaw affected at least 1.1 million different automobiles. And it is, by all accounts, not a low-priority problem.

The fault in the gearshifts was that they wouldn’t necessarily shift. Not just into ‘park,’ but also ‘reverse’ and any form of ‘drive.’ In other words, whenever Anton Yelchin or anyone else parked their cars on any sort of incline, they were unknowingly running the very real risk of their car rolling away. Of course that isn’t the only consequence of the faulty gearshifts, but it’s the one that ended up mattering for Yelchin.

The class action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was submitted the Thursday following Yelchin’s death (June 23). It was filed by law firm Hagens Berman Sobel Shapiro, who claims that Fiat Chrysler is guilty of “intentionally covering up fatal design flaws and deaths from the defects.”

If the lawsuit is successful, plaintiffs will be sharing damages amounting to upwards of five million dollars. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will also be required by law to design and install additional safety features in the afflicted vehicles, ensuring that the cars would automatically shift into ‘park’ if the drivers’ doors open and pressure is removed from their foot brakes.

The odds do seem to be in favor of car owners rather than Fiat Chrysler. However, investigators within the Los Angeles county police department are still investigating Anton Yelchin’s death to determine if his car’s gearshift was actually the cause. While it does seem as though Fiat Chrysler’s design flaw is highly suspect in this particular case, new evidence often emerges and what we know as the “facts” can easily change. So far, Yelchin’s death has been ruled accidental — but if the gearshift caused his car to roll and crush him, Fiat Chrysler will be looking at a rough future.

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide range of cases related to product liability and wrongful death. If you or a loved one has suffered as the result of a product that didn’t function properly, there are certainly grounds to seek damages in a court of law. The first step is always to hire legal representation you can trust, so don’t wait — call today, or go online to set up your free initial consultation. A skilled lawyer is ready and waiting to guide you toward the justice you deserve.

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