Auto manufacturer sued for wrongful death of Star Trek actor

When New Jersey families purchase vehicles, they do so with the understanding that the manufacturer has done everything possible to produce a safe product. Consumers trust that safety is a top priority in the automobile industry. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Injuries often occur as a direct result of product defects, and some defects lead to fatalities. In these instances, surviving family members may choose to file a wrongful death suit against the product manufacturer.

One such suit is being filed against Fiat Chrysler by the parents of actor Anton Yelchin. Yelchin is best known for his role as Pavel Chekov in recent Star Trek movies. The young actor died in June after being struck by his own vehicle, a collision the Yelchin’s attorney alleges was a direct result of a defective gear regulator.

The defect in question is an issue with the gear shift on Yelchin’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee that makes it hard for drivers to tell if the car is in park. The family claims that this defect led to the vehicle rolling into, and crushing, the actor. Over a million cars were the subject of a recall notice handed to federal officials by Fiat Chrysler in April, but it is unknown at this time whether owners have been issued recall notices.

It is reported that the gear problem is responsible for at least 117 accidents thus far. In a jury trial, both the family and their attorney hope to hold Fiat Chrysler accountable for sacrificing safety for profit. By seeking punitive damages, Yelchin’s parents hope to save other families from losing loved ones due to this vehicle defect.

Wrongful death suits in New Jersey are governed by the New Jersey Wrongful Death Act and the New Jersey Survivors Act which outline statutes of limitations, losses and compensation. People considering pursuing a wrongful death suit should give serious consideration to consulting an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: CNN Money, “Anton Yelchin’s family files wrongful death suit,” Chloe Melas, Aug. 2, 2016