Mitsubishi Sued for Fatal Auto Fire

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm affirm that a wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed against Mitsubishi by the family of a woman who burned to death when her SUV unexpectedly caught fire. Meineke Car Care Centers and Smylie Unlimited are also named as defendants in the suit.

The woman, 25-year-old Jessica Fertitta, was driving her 2001 Mitsubishi Montero when it malfunctioned and allegedly burst into flames, ultimately causing her to die from burn injuries. The incident occurred around 4 a.m. in February 2011, just after Fertitta left her grandparents’ home.

Investigators determined that the fire was accidental and was possibly caused by a mechanical defect; consequently, her family is now claiming Mitsubishi was negligent in designing and manufacturing the vehicle. Smylie Unlimited and Meineke Car Care Centers are auto repair shops that inspected and repaired the Montero before its fatal fire, and are also named in the suit for negligence.

A somewhat similar lawsuit was recently filed by a former Marine against Best Buy, after the Marine’s care caught fire outside its parking lot, triggering flashbacks and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Marine went to Best Buy to purchase electronic equipment and have it installed in his Ford Focus. Immediately after leaving the store’s parking lot his car caught fire and was completely destroyed.

The disabled veteran was fortunately able to escape the car before it exploded, however, the event caused him severe mental distress and anguish by triggering flashbacks from his service in Afghanistan. According to his complaint, he is still too afraid to travel anywhere near the vicinity of the place where his car exploded, which he alleges Best Buy is responsible for.

Another wrongful death lawsuit recently concluded in Southern California, this one against Toyota Motor Corp. The suit was filed by the family of a woman who died in a crash in the same year that Toyota recalled millions of vehicles due to unintended acceleration issues. The woman died after being struck by another motorist on the road, which careened her vehicle into a tree and telephone pole.

The driver that struck her car was 86 at the time and ran a stop sign before crashing into her. The jury deliberated for about five days before concluding that Toyota was cleared of liability; instead, the jury found the elderly driver to be at fault and ordered him to pay the deceased woman’s family $10 million.

There have been dozens of other lawsuits filed against Toyota regarding the accidental acceleration issues, which the company has already agreed to pay $1 billion to resolve. Many of the plaintiffs are arguing that Toyota made safety an option instead of requirement in its vehicles when it failed to install a mechanism for brake overrides, which would have stopped the unintended acceleration.

Toyota claims that a brake override component would not have prevented plaintiffs’ crashes, instead blaming outside factors like other drivers, sticky accelerators, and trapped floor mats. The mechanical issues now being argued in federal court involve Toyota’s allegedly defective electronic throttle control system.

Bars and restaurants may also be sued for wrongful death in auto accidents if that bar over-serves a patron and allows them to get in their car after leaving. One such lawsuit was recently filed in Montana, blaming bartenders for continuing to serve alcohol to an already-intoxicated patron in the hours before a fatal crash. The suit was filed by the deceased woman’s children, and names a VFW in East Helena for over-serving the drunken driver.

If you were recently involved in a similar auto accident caused by the negligence of another driver or defective auto parts, contact the auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation. We understand how frustrating it can be to negotiate with an insurance company or deal with the responsible party, and are here to help you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.


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