COVID-19 NOTIFICATION: To protect your safety in response to the threat of COVID-19, our staff is still available to serve you during our normal office hours. We are offering our clients and potential clients the option to connect with us via telephone, email and video-conferencing. Please call or email us to discuss your options.

An auto defect can quickly lead to an accident and thus result in injuries or even death in West Virginia. Fiat Chrysler has recently recalled more than a million SUVs and cars due to serious auto defects that may affect West Virginians. The recall covers more than 800,000 automobiles in the United States.

According to the company, their vehicles’ gear selectors make it too simple for motorists to neglect to put their vehicles in Park before leaving the vehicles. Doing this may cause the car to roll away. So far, the company has received reports of 41 injuries that are possibly related to this defect.

The problem with the gear selectors in the recalled Fiat Chrysler vehicles is that they make it hard for drivers to determine which gear their cars are in. Despite whether vehicles are in Drive, Neutral, Reverse or Park, the shifter remains in an upright position rather than being in a back or forward position. Even though a driver might move his or her gear selector backward or forward, it always returns to the upright position. Although a chime does sound if a person is about to leave his or her car when the car is not in Park, some motorists have still exited their vehicles without putting them in Park. Fiat Chrysler plans to change how its vehicles’ gear selectors operate so that the vehicles will automatically be prevented from moving in certain circumstances even if drivers do not select Park.

Vehicle companies have a duty to ensure that their automobiles are safe for customers to use. If auto defects cause people in West Virginia to suffer injuries or even lose their lives, this is grounds for litigation. An injured person or the family of a deceased victim has the right to file a liability claim against the maker of the reportedly defective product, seeking damages that — if awarded — may help to cover losses related to the use of that product.

Source: cnn.com, “Gear shift confusion causes Chrysler recall“, Peter Valdes-Dapena, April 22, 2016