Could A Recalled Jeep Grand Cherokee Have Caused A Celebrity Death?

June 24, 2016
By: Robert Silverman

A 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, part of a Fiat Chrysler mass gear-shifter recall, has been deemed responsible for the death of actor Anton Yelchin.

On Sunday, June 19, 2016, 27-year-old Anton Yelchin – perhaps best known for his role in Star Trek – was killed instantly when he was crushed by his own 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Two months earlier, in April 2016, Fiat Chrysler recalled over 800,000 vehicles for a gear-shifting problem. Among those models listed in the recall is the SUV that killed Yelchin.

To date, 41 injuries have been connected to the vehicles impacted by the recent Fiat Chrysler recall. Although any connection between the accident that killed Yelchin and the Jeep Grand Cherokee recall is still under investigation, the accident itself has led to an outcry from consumer safety advocates who believe there is a need to handle recalls with greater urgency and care.

A recent article in Time claims that Yelchin’s death has sparked calls for new auto-recall rules. As of this writing, it may take weeks or even months for a consumer to get their recalled vehicle fixed, meaning vehicles often remain on the road long after they’re recalled, regardless of whether the issue has been repaired.

Unfortunately, Jeep Grand Cherokee recalls have not been limited to issues with the gear-shifter. According to the NHTSA, other recalls affecting recent Jeep Grand Cherokee models (2014-2016) involve transmission problems (such as lunging and jerking), software vulnerabilities, a problem with the rear control arm, a separate problem with the front-left brake caliper, and even alternator failure. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is also listed in the 2016 Car Complaint Index.

Are You Affected By This Recall? Know Your Consumer Rights

As a consumer, it’s important to know that you have specific rights when it comes to vehicle recalls, regardless of what you drive. Although a recalled vehicle won’t always be a lemon, State Lemon Laws and Federal Warranty Laws may come into play if the vehicle is out of service for an extended period of time, due to recalled parts being placed on back order for extended periods of time. For example, we have been successful a number of claims involving Takata airbags, where the consumer was unable to drive their vehicle and was not placed in a comparable one until the recall was completed.

To protect yourself, be sure you document everything, from interactions with the dealership to specific problems with the vehicle and how each problem is handled. Maintain copies of all repair invoices and make sure the information on said invoices are 100% correct and accurate at the time they are obtained from the dealer.

Remember that, if you do find yourself waiting on a repair for an extended period of time due to a part that’s unavailable or on backorder, you still have rights. Contact a Lemon Law attorney to discuss your legal options, as you may be entitled to compensation such as a partial refund, a full repurchase, or a replacement vehicle.

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