Fiat Chrysler Catastrophic Injury Claims
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in an accident involving a recalled vehicle and you believe that those injuries were due to gear shift problems, you may have legal rights. For more information, you may contact Motley Rice vehicle defect attorneys Kevin Dean and Taylor Lacy by email or by calling 1-800-768-4026.
Our Experience Litigating Vehicle Defect Cases
Motley Rice represents people with personal injury, wrongful death as well as economic loss class action claims. We have experience litigating cases involving vehicle defects, including Takata’s record-breaking airbag recall. The brand’s exploding airbags have affected roughly 100 million vehicles worldwide, allegedly causing at least 14 deaths and more than 130 injuries.
Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice holds leadership positions in the GM Ignition Switch Defect Litigation and the Volkswagen Emissions Fraud Litigation.
Background on Fiat Chrysler Gear System Defects
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a voluntary recall in April 2016 due to a defective gearshift that had been installed in roughly 1.1 million vehicles, 800,000 of which were sold in the United States. At that time, the company stated it was aware of 41 injuries “potentially related” to the gear selector being easy for drivers to forget to put the vehicle in “park” before exiting.
The affected vehicles had been equipped with an 8-speed transmission and a monostable electronic gearshift, or e-shift. Unlike with conventional gearshifts, drivers must shift gears by moving the stick forward and backward, holding it in place until the desired gear appears on an electronic display. Once in gear, the shifter then returns back to its original, centered position.
Motorists have complained that the gearshift is, at times, confusing, with some citing it as the cause of accidents and injuries after accidentally placing their vehicle in neutral instead of park.
“Drivers erroneously concluding that their vehicle’s transmission is in the PARK position may be struck by the vehicle and injured if they attempt to get out of the vehicle while the engine is running and the parking brake is not engaged,” according to a report detailing the recall.
An investigation conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that “operation of the monostable shifter is not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection.”
Fiat Chrysler concluded that lack of an additional mechanism to offset driver error posed a risk to the public. The manufacturer issued the recall, having at the time received 308 reports of property damage, 212 crashes and 41 injuries linked to the issue.
Fiat Chrysler aims to begin repairs of recalled vehicles in the summer of 2016. Meanwhile, the company urged motorists to “ALWAYS DO A VISUAL CHECK that your vehicle is in ‘PARK,’” according to news reports.