Recently, Verdict Search Products Liability reported that in the spring of 2004, a man driving his employer’s Dodge Dakota came to a full stop so that he could survey some shipping containers outside of his vehicle. He endeavored to place the pickup in park but did not double-check to see that it was, in fact, in park. He left the engine running and did not pull up on the emergency break. After walking a few feet away from the vehicle, he noticed that it had begun to reverse on its own. This had not been the first time problems with Dodge Dakotas, like this one, have been reported. Because the man had left the door of the vehicle ajar, he tried to jump into the Dodge Dakota to halt its course. The worker was struck by the open door, which caused him to fall into a comma and later die.
The lawyers representing the man’s family argued that since 1987 DaimlerChrysler has been notified on several occasions that the Dodge Dakota transmission shifting problems make the vehicle susceptible to delayed reverse if the shift selector becomes accidentally stuck between park and reverse. Such an automobile design defect could have been easily fixed the lawyers contended. They also argued that DaimlerChrysler withheld changing the design because to do so might be viewed as admission that the Dodge Dakota’s transmission shifting problems were due to improper design.
Determining liability in motor vehicle catastrophic accidents is not always a simple matter as contributing factors can be extremely complex. Careful accident reconstruction analysis is often essential to a successful outcome. If you or a family member was seriously injured because of a design defect involving a Dodge Dakota or another vehicle, you may wish to speak a lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights.
The New York and New Jersey law firm of Levy Konigsberg LLP offers experienced representation for the victims of motor vehicle catastrophic accidents. For more information please call (800) 315-3806.