A recent fatal accident involving a young actor has many people concerned about their own vehicles. As part of our responsibility to provide Calgary’s citizens with the best possible legal information, we wanted to take a moment to address the legal issues involved and ensure everyone knows what laws are in place to protect their rights and their safety.

Possible Malfunction Could Be Responsible for Actor’s Wrongful Death

The actor involved in this case, who was best known for his recurring role in two recent movies in the Star-Trek franchise (and a third film scheduled for release this year), was apparently pinned against the brick-and-iron gate of his driveway by his vehicle. According to initial reports from the Los Angeles Police Department, it appears as though the vehicle was not put in the “Park” position, and rolled down the driveway where the accident occurred. The official cause of death listed is “blunt force asphyxiation.”

Complicating matters is the manufacturer of the vehicle in question had issued a recall, as a known issue with this kind of rolling had already led to at least 40 other injuries. The company had previously issued statements outlining the problem and reminding all drivers to ensure their vehicles were properly placed in “Park” mode before exiting the vehicle—although other safety features in modern cars should prevent many rollaways, this case is a stark reminder that these other features don’t always work as they should.

Though this incident didn’t take place in Calgary, similar scenarios of possible vehicle malfunctions leading to serious injuries and even deaths have occurred. Such cases can be quite complex; there is no question that the vehicle manufacturer has a “duty of care” to produce vehicles that are safe and that function properly, however if there was proper notification and/or attempts made to fix an issue once it was discovered and the driver ignored those warnings/attempts, that might limit or even provide a complete defence to the manufacturer’s liability.

There is no way of telling what the outcome of the specific case at hand might be, but there are a few important lesson here that can keep you safe. First, never get between a running car and another large object, be it a wall, a gate, or another vehicle. Especially if the car is pointed downhill, it’s all too easy to become pinned. Second, pay careful attention to recalls involving your vehicle, not because of legal issues but because of the risk malfunctions present to you and others. Third, make sure your vehicle is always in “Park,” and ideally turned off and with the “emergency” or parking brake engaged, any time you’re not behind the wheel.

A Calgary Personal Injury Lawyer with Experience Handling Auto Injuries

If you or a family member has been seriously injured by a vehicle malfunction and you would like to speak to one of Calgary’s leading personal injury lawyers, please contact our office today to schedule your appointment for a free initial consultation.