Spotting a Product Liability Claim: Do I Have a Case?

The recent and tragic death of Anton Yelchin caused by a defective gear shifter in his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a stark reminder of the fatal circumstances when a vehicle defect is in play.

Yelchin died tragically when his vehicle was left in neutral and rolled down his driveway, pinning him against the brick mailbox and security fence at his Los Angeles home.

“A number of reports have mistakenly referred to this incident as a ‘freak accident,’” wrote Langdon & Emison partner Brett Emison in a recent blog post. “Let’s be clear: While tragic, this was not a ‘freak’ accident. The incident appears to be tied to a well-documented and acknowledged design flaw in the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and other Fiat Chrysler vehicles.”

Evaluating a Products Case

When an auto defect is at issue, it can be easy to overlook, particularly when attorneys focus on liability issues during the initial case evaluation. Beyond asking who caused an auto accident, an attorney must also ask: Who is responsible for the client’s injuries? The answers to these two questions are not always the same.

Auto defects can cause a person to sustain more serious or severe injuries than otherwise would have occurred due to the defective design or manufacture of the vehicle. Under these circumstances, the entities responsible for the vehicle make up and production may be liable for all or a portion of a person’s injuries, regardless of whether they caused the accident.

In an auto crash with severe injuries or deaths, lawyers must evaluate the case for potential product liability claims. Key first steps after you get the initial call:

  • Consider the possibility of enhanced injuries early in the investigation process.
  • Immediately secure and protect the product so it can be examined later.
  • Ensure the condition of the vehicle was documented accurately at the time of the accident.
  • Gather vital components of the investigation: photographs of the accident scene, witness statements regarding issues such as a seat belt usage or the manner of a rollover.

Contact Langdon & Emison

For more than 30 years, Langdon & Emison has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading product liability law firms, having taken on the world’s largest auto manufacturers in courtrooms from coast to coast, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Our firm litigates cases involving product defects that caused serious injury or death such as:

  • Fuel-fed fire cases.
  • Defective auto seats.
  • Seat belt defects.
  • Tire defects.
  • Vehicle rollovers.

If you have a potential product liability case, we would be pleased to review your case; steer you toward the right experts; or help in any way we can. Contact our firm today at 866-931-2115 or by email.