• Parents Of Late Star Trek Star Files Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler

Actor’s family blames Yelchin’s death on the gear shifter problems of the Jeep Grand Cherokee

The parents of actor Anton Yelchin are planning to take legal action against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over the death of their 27-year old son on June 19, 2016. According to the Associated Press, an attorney who represents the Yelchin’s parents announced their plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the automaker, which they hold responsible for releasing a vehicle – a Jeep Grand Cherokee – that had a confusing shifter design that led to some cars to roll away by themselves.

Yelchin’s family believes that the actor’s Grand Cherokee was one of the affected models and the problem manifested itself at the worst possible time when it rolled down his driveway and pinned him against a brick pillar and security fence. Yelchin died on the scene from traumatic injuries sustained from the horrible episode.

A coroner ruled the actor’s death an accident, but that apparently isn’t stopping his parents from taking FCA to court on the grounds that it made a defective vehicle that caused their son’s death. If it is determined that the confusing gear shifter design played a role in the actor’s untimely passing, it would become the first incident of someone dying because of the defect. That said, a government investigation revealed that there have been 268 documented crashes because of the gear shifters and 68 people have been injured because of it as of June 2016.

For its part, FCA has sent out its condolences to Yelchin’s family, but so far has refused to comment on the planned lawsuit.

Update: During a press conference on August 2, 2016, the lawyer of Yelchin’s parents claims that a recall notice was sent to Yelchin seven days after his untimely death.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

I’ve always believed that when your time is up, your time is up. But there are times when it’s hard to explain how the world works. Anton Yeltsin’s death counts as one of them because he didn’t have to die if his car was working properly to begin with. Now it’s too early to assume anything or put the onus of blame squarely on the shoulders of Fiat Chrysler without having the full facts to work with.

If Yelchin’s parents to take this matter to court, I believe that FCA will have a defense ready, possibly even have something that puts the responsibility of the accident on the actor. That’s the only way FCA can win a legal battle like this, or both parties could just as well settle the matter out of court. Ultimately, that’s what I think will happen here. A settlement will be reached between Yelchin’s parents and FCA and the automaker can move forward with the recall to fix the issues that have been plaguing the Grand Cherokee.

Hopefully, this issue can be resolved sooner than later for all the parties involved.

Source: Associated Press

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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