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March 16, 2006

Chrysler Will Appeal $3.4 Million Award in Transmission Design Case

DaimlerChrysler will appeal a $3.4 million jury award to the mother of a two-year-old girl who dislodged the transmission lever in the parked 1991-model minivan in which she was sitting and was subsequently run over and killed when the vehicle rolled away.  According to a story by Greg Land in the Fulton County Daily Report, the case arose out of a July 2002 accident that occured when the child was left in the parked car, which was not running, as it was being washed by the mother's fiance.  The car rolled down a 120-foot driveway and struck a small tree.  The child fell out and was pinned under the right front tire resulting in her death.  The car's transmission lacked an interlock that prevents the transmission from being shifted out of "Park" unless the brake pedal is depressed, a feature that other manufacturers have been using on their vehicles since at least 1995 according to the plaintiff's attorney.  DaimlerChrysler issued a statement saying that "[t]his tragic accident occured because a two year old child was left alone in a vehicle with the key in the ignition, the doors open and the parking brake not in use . . . .  A brake shift interlock was not designed . . . to relieve adults of their responsibility to never leave children alone in cars, with 12 states criminalizing leaving a child alone in a vehicle."  The statement also indicated that the judgment could be reduced because the jury found the child's mother 49% responsible for the accident.


March 16, 2006 | Permalink


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