A defective seat mounting or restraint system is now suspected to be the cause of death of Gavin Fletcher, a popular Times Colonist sports editor, who was ejected from his Nissan Infiniti along with his driver’s seat when the Nissan crashed last year according to an article in the Times Colonist.
The Times Colonist quotes British Columbia coroner Rose Stanton, as saying their investigation has centered on mechanical issues and ” … that the cause of death may be partially as a result of a mechanical failure in Mr. Fletcher’s car.” The report goes on to say that Stanton is waiting on a response from experts who have been analyzing Fletcher’s Nissan Infiniti.
Reports of the accident investigation indicate that Fletcher was wearing his seatbelt and traveling the speed limit at the time of the accident. He apparently lost control of his vehicle, slid backwards striking a rock wall and that he and the driver’s seat were violently ejected through the rear windshield. Fletcher died instantly.
It doesn’t take an expert to know that there is a mechanical defect here. I have done enough product liability and auto defect cases to know that seats with passengers in them are not violently ejected from a vehicle when traveling the speed limit without a serious design or manufacturing defect. Unless the mounting of Fletcher’s seat has been altered, Nissan should be liable for this death.
In a case like this it is crucial to maintain and preserve the entire automobile, the car itself, the seatbelt assembly and the seat. They are all important pieces of evidence needed to determine exactly what malfunctioned.
I have no idea what the statute of limitations is on a British Columbia wrongful death case but Fletcher’s widow would be well served by consulting with expert Canadian auto defect lawyers at her earliest possible opportunity in order to preserve evidence, assess her rights and take timely action.