Personal Injury

False Park

Defective Design Vehicle Injuries

There have been hundreds of accidents where people suffered debilitating physical injuries when a vehicle suddenly moved into reverse. Auto manufacturers are reluctant to accept responsibility for these injuries. Instead, they regularly blame the drivers for the accidents and deny their vehicles are defective.

2016 Alert for Some Fiat Chrysler Vehicles with Known Gear Display Problems

In April 2016, Fiat Chrysler announced that it is recalling over one million cars and SUVs worldwide out of concerns the gear selector makes it too easy for drivers to miss putting the vehicles in “Park” before exiting. Vehicles not left in Park have rolled away and caused at least 40 serious injuries. Affected vehicles include 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.

Contact us

If you or a family member have been injured in an accident you suspect may have involved a faulty or defectively designed transmission, we encourage you to contact an auto injury attorney at the national law firm of Lieff Cabraser using the form below. You are also welcome to call us toll-free at 1 800 541-7358 and ask to speak with attorney Fabrice Vincent. There is no charge for our review of your case, and all information provided will be held as strictly confidential.

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Transmission Defects Can Vary

Some gear mechanisms are designed in ways that can make the current gear status ambiguous. This can lead to drivers exiting their vehicles in the belief the cars are in park, when in fact they are still in gear and can cause serious injuries and death as they roll into drivers and pedestrians.

The “false park” or “park to reverse” defect is a flaw in a vehicle’s transmission in which it is possible for the driver unknowingly to place the transmission shift selector into a position between park and reverse during normal vehicle operations. When a vehicle is in false park, it appears to the driver that the vehicle is fully in park.

However, the transmission is neither in park nor reverse, but an unstable position between the two gears. Slight movements can cause the vehicle to self-shift into reverse. When the vehicle is running, this will cause the vehicle to move backwards unexpectedly under power. If the driver exit the vehicle with the engine running (to retrieve an item, lock a house door, etc.), a vehicle in false park can shift into powered reverse, running over the driver or a bystander.

The park to reverse or false park defect is sometimes described in different terms such as unintentional rearward movement, unintended rearward movement, unintentional reverse, unintended reverse, unintentional acceleration, unintended acceleration, powered reverse, failure to hold in park, slipped gear, inadvertent movement, inadvertent rearward movement, jumped into reverse, kicked into reverse, slipped into reverse, change gear, changed gear, back over, backed over, roll backwards, lurched backwards, roll back, rolled back, rearward runaway, accidental shift, shift alone, shift into reverse, shift out of park, sudden shift, switch gears and went into reverse.

List of Vehicles with False Park Defect

The defect allegedly affects over a million vehicles on the road today, including:

  • 1988 through 2003 Dodge Dakotas
  • certain 1988 through 2006 Dodge Rams
  • certain 1993 through 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees
  • certain Ford rear-wheel drive vehicles including the Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis, Ford F-150, 250 and 350 pick-ups, Ford SUVs such as the Explorer, and other Ford vehicles with substantially similar transmissions such as the Econoline
  • certain Ford front-wheel drive vehicles such as the Ford Aerostar minivan
  • certain Fiat Chrysler 2015 model vehicles (announced February 2015)

Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn Transmission Recall

On September 21, 2012, General Motors announced a vehicle recall on some of its Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn models. The recall addresses a transmission problem and affects more than 400,000 2008-2010 Malibu and G6 vehicles. The transmission cable in these vehicles may fracture and separate. This can cause the shift lever to inaccurately indicate that the vehicle is in park, when in fact the transmission is in another position such as neutral, reverse, or drive causing the vehicle to unexpectedly move and potentially crash.