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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

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Appeal over possible wrongful death case

Clients who are hurt or families whose loved ones die as a result of someone else's actions deserve persistence on the part of a legal advocate as they try to recover. This might be pursuing compensation for the devastating economic impact felt because of personal injury. It can also be strategic navigation through legal remedies necessary when wrongful death constitutes a cause of action. In some cases, judges may dismiss a claim. When this happens, refuting decisions through appeal might be appropriate.

Reports are that the appeal option was exercised in a case against an automobile manufacturer. The appeals court hearing the case reversed the lower court's 2013 ruling, and the defendant car maker might now be held accountable for an alleged defect in its minivan transmission.

Records show the lower court judge entered a summary judgment in favor of the manufacturer before discovery closed and without a hearing. He found the plaintiffs' allegations weren't sufficient to establish a connection between the defective car part and the 2011 deaths of an elderly couple in their garage.

Reportedly, the couple's children contend that a false-park defect in the vehicle's automatic transmission caused it to shift into reverse by itself. Their mother, 75, was pinned between the garage door frame and the open driver side door. Their father, 83, died of a heart attack, allegedly caused when the car ran him down at the same time as his wife was immobilized. There were no witnesses to the accident.

Critical to the case, a professional design-defect opinion was presented to the appeals court that supported the contention that the false-park defect caused the deaths of the couple. Additional information presented by counsel indicates 15 deaths have been linked to the defect; 200 injuries and 1,435 incidents are also related.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Court revives Suit Over Old Couple’s SUV Death," Katherine Proctor, June 17, 2015

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