A woman was run over by her own SUV outside a 7-Eleven in Pacific Beach Thursday afternoon because of a defective parking brake, according to an article in the San Diego Union Tribune. The tragic incident occurred outside the store when the woman got out of her 2005 Lexus sport utility vehicle. As soon as she got out, the vehicle started to roll backward, according to the report.
Officials said the woman had set the parking brake before she got out of the vehicle, but that she had left the SUV in neutral gear. The woman then attemped to stop the moving SUV by jumping into the driver’s seat but fell to the ground and was run over by the front tires, the article states. Officials, who investigated the seemingly freak incident, later found that the SUV’s parking brakes were defective. The woman is expected to recover although she suffered massive internal injuries.
Manufacturing defects are very common among most brands of vehicles. There are thousands of components in today’s vehicles; some of them are bound to have design defects. Some design defects are just not discovered before the vehicles are released for sale. History and industry internal documents show that a substantial number of defects are known by the manufacturers before the vehicles are sold and some defects are known before the vehicles are actually built. Some manufacturers will knowingly market defective vehicles figuring that getting caught will not be as big a loss as re-tooling or recalling.
Sadly, many vehicle defects do not come to light until a significant number of people have incurred significant financial losses (repairing their vehicle) or serious injuries. We generally find out about the most dangerous defects during the process of representing clients who have suffered severe injuries or have lost a loved one as a result. Defective parking brakes fall into that category.
In this case, the woman could have easily died from her injuries. She is very lucky to have survived. A few lawsuits related to parking brakes have received national attention. Among them was a class action lawsuit filed two years ago against General Motors by vehicle owners who had to pay $500 each to replace defective parking brakes. In 2004, Hyundai Motor Co. recalled minivans because of defective parking brake cables in its Trajet XG models, which were released between 1999 and early 2004.
If you have been injured as a result of a defective auto product, call me, John Bisnar of Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, for a free consultation at 1-800-259-6373.