West Virginia residents may be interested in hearing about a huge automaker being sued for a girl’s death. BMW is facing litigation initiated by a family after their daughter was trapped inside their 1997 BMW 328i with no way out. The out-of-state school district which she attended is also named in the lawsuit, as the family feels they were negligent in their actions surrounding the girl’s death. The suit accuses BMW of warranty breach and product liability, and claims that the negligence of the school and BMW resulted in the girl’s wrongful death.
On this particular type of BMW, when the doors are locked from the outside of the vehicle, the doors cannot be opened from within. This is due to a double-locking mechanism that was installed. The girl in this case was unable to alert anyone that she needed help because she was not strong enough to break out the window and the horn is inoperable without the key in the vehicle’s ignition.
Apparently, the teenager was taken to the California school with her sister by their older brother. The brother and sister went into the school around 6:30 a.m. that morning for a class and to socialize, respectively. The 14-year-old girl decided to stay in the car and go back to sleep because her class didn’t start for another hour.
The lawsuit asserts that BMW was aware of the dangers of this mechanism that resulted in the apparent wrongful death of this 14-year-old girl. It has been mentioned that a simple safety-release lever would have prevented this death. The school district has been named because the school’s policy was reportedly violated when they failed to notify the girl’s parents of her absence. When a person dies at the hands of another due to their negligence in West Virginia, as may have happened in this out-of-state case, it may be possible for the victim’s family to obtain monetary damages for the harm caused.
Source: The Fresno Bee, “Lawsuit blames BMW, Madera Unified for girl’s death in locked car”, Pablo Lopez, May 8, 2014