The family of Jennifer Leanne Walton is suing Chrysler and R & J Tire
Company for her wrongful death. Walton, 20, died on October 3, 2010 in
a 15-passenger van rollover accident in Georgia. A the time, the Tabernacle
of Prayer and Deliverance church van was transporting 19 people to a revival.
Police say that a tire blowout caused the driver to lose control of the
vehicle, which struck a median before rolling over at least twice. 4 people
were killed while the other 15 sustained injuries.
In their auto products liability lawsuit seeking damages for Walton’s wrongful death, her family says the defendants failed to warn users about their products and were responsible for the unsafe condition of the van and its tires.
Following this catastrophic traffic crash, and another 15-passenger van accident in New York that killed 6 people last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reissued its warning to van owners and operators and offered several steps that they can take to keep passengers safe, including:
- Ensuring that the van is properly maintained.
- Only allowing drivers that are fully trained and experienced to drive the van.
- NOT overloading the van
- Using tires that are the correct size for this type of vehicle.
- Making sure the tires are properly inflated anytime you go on a trip.
- Making sure that everyone in the van is using a seat belt.
Because 15-passenger vans have a higher rollover risk than most motor vehicles,
critics and safety advocates have long questioned the way these vehicles
are designed. Many of them don’t have the basic safety vehicles
that other cars have to protect passengers during a traffic collision.
Design defects, manufacturing flaws, and auto parts malfunctions can be grounds for an auto products liability lawsuit if they cause personal injuries or wrongful death.
Lawsuit filed in Van Crash, WRLB, October 22, 2010
Consumer Advisory: NHTSA Reissues 15-Passenger Van Safety Caution, NHTSA, October 14, 2010
Update: Nurse describes van crash scene: ‘Bodies everywhere’, Ledger-Enquirer, October 4, 2010
Six Killed in Crash on New York State Thruway, New York Times, September 18, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Q&As: 15-passenger vans, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
15 Passenger Vans: Still Dangerous After All These Years, Safety Research, September 21, 2010