Accident Shows The Dangers of DIY Car Repair

Detroit Car Accident Lawyer

A 65-year old Michigan man died after being pinned by an SUV on September 10, 2017. Dennis Peters, of Mayfield Township, Michigan, was struck by a car he was attempting to repair according to the Detroit Free Press. Peters was attempting to fix the brakes on a friend’s car. Someone moved the car, but the brakes were not functioning properly, so the kept going and hit Peters, pinning him against the garage. Mr. Peters' death is being investigated as an accident.

This story may sound somewhat familiar to readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog. Last summer, we wrote about the death of actor Anton Yelchin. Yelchin was also killed after being pinned by his own SUV. Even though Yelchin placed his Jeep Cherokee in park and exited the vehicle, the car started rolling down the steep driveway it was parked in and pinned Yelchin against a brick pillar. This accident, however, was caused due to a faulty gear shift problem which was under recall from Chrysler Fiat.

Thankfully, deaths due to faulty brakes are relatively uncommon. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey in 2015, in which they looked at the critical causes of car accidents. It was discovered that out of the approximately 2,200,000 accidents that took place between 2005 and 2007, 44,000 were due to an issue with the vehicle. Of this 44,000, faulty brakes attributed to 10,000 accidents. While this number may seem relatively small, it is certainly not the same as 0 deaths.

Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

Fixing faulty brakes is a job that people often try to undertake themselves, rather than taking the car to a professional mechanic. Many think fixing malfunctioning brakes is one of the easier repair jobs on a car, but it is more difficult than people realize, and it is critical to get it right. When not done properly, the consequences can be deadly, as unfortunately seen in Mayfield Township. Fixing brakes doesn’t just involve repairing the brake pads, but also the calipers, rotors, wheel bearings, and brake fluid. Not properly repairing any one of these items can lead to a car malfunctioning, which could potentially lead to a car crash.

According to Auto Notebook, there are a few reasons why drivers decide to undertake car repair projects on their own, rather than going to a mechanic. Saving money is the most commonly cited reason. On top of that, video tutorials, detailed instructions, make and model information, and high quality pictures can now all be found online, making drivers much more confident in their abilities to fix their own car.

However despite popular belief, at home car repairs are not always going to be cheaper, especially in the long run. It's understandable that buying a $10 can of do-it-yourself (DIY) crack filler to fix a cracked windshield sounds a lot better than paying someone to fix it for $75, but when the DIY fix doesn’t work and the window shatters, it can cost $500 to replace it. More so, engines and transmissions are the most complicated parts of a car, and when the average Joe tries and fails to fix these parts himself, it can cost up to $7,000 each to replace them. On top of the monetary cost, any job that involves jacking up a car and crawling underneath, such as replacing shock absorbers, can be extremely dangerous, and is best left to a professional. From an expensive ER bill for a crushed hand, to causing a car crash on the highway due to a bad brake repair job, the risks of DIY car maintenance greatly outweigh any potential benefit. 

Detroit Car Crash Lawyer

Fixing your car yourself may sound very appealing - you can potentially save money, save time, and claim bragging rights to your friends and family about how smoothly you got your car running. However, without the proper training or experience, fixing your own car has the potential to be deadly or at the very least, costly. Changing a tire on the side of the road is one thing, trying to untangle the maze of wires in your very expensive transmission is quite another. Therefore, taking your car to a professional mechanic is the easiest and safest way to ensure that your car is maintained properly and safely. 


Accidents can still happen, regardless of how well taken care of your car is. If you have been involved in a automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys are experienced in handling all types of car accident law suits, including those caused by recall defects or faulty car parts.

Anton Yelchin's Parents File Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler Recall Car Crash Lawyer

Back on August 9, 2016 The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog informed readers that actor Anton Yelchin's parents had filed a wrongful death and product liability lawsuit against Fiat-Chrysler and the dealership that sold Yelchin his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Yelchin was an actor best known for his role as Chekov in the remake of the fan-beloved Star Trek film franchise. Reuters reported that Yelchin had driven back to his home to grab an item he thought he had forgotten and hopped out of his vehicle thinking it was in park. However, the car began to roll backwards along Yelchin’s steep driveway crushing the 27-year-old.  This motor vehicle vs pedestrian accident caused his tragic death. It was later discovered that Yelchin's vehicle was under recall for a defective gear shift.

Late Recall Letter

811,000 vehicles nationwide and 1.1 million cars and SUVs globally, were affected by the recall. The auto recall covered models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Sport from the 2014-2015 model year, and models of the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300 Sedans from the 2012-2014 model years.

The lawyer representing Yelchin's parents contended that a recall letter arrived seven days after Yelchin’s death, which was obviously too late to be of use to the late actor. The Yelchin lawyer has since chosen to reveal the contents of the undated letter which stated, "Your vehicle may roll away, striking and injuring you, your passengers, or bystanders, if the vehicle's engine is left running, the parking brake is not engaged, and the transmission is not in the "PARK" position before exiting the vehicle."

In response to the lawsuit, the Valencia, California dealership that sold Yelchin the Jeep, submitted a request to be removed from the wrongful death lawsuit. Their explanation for the request was that Yelchin should be blamed for his own death due to the "misuse, misapplication, or damage” of the vehicle. The New York Daily news reported that the dealership accused Yelchin's parents of tampering with the Jeep after the accident and that they suggested that Yelchin himself made adaptations to the Jeep shortly after purchasing it.

Fiat-Chrysler Recall

In light of Yelchin’s death and the Jeep recall, his parents were not the only ones that sued over the defective gear shift. In fact, seven more class action lawsuits from California, Tennessee, and New York have been filed and are being consolidated here in Michigan, close to Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles' (FCA) U.S. headquarters, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Additional lawsuits like one from Texas involving a San Antonio woman jumping from her roll-away Jeep, seem to filed more and more frequently. Sonya Dawson, 49, parked her 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee before she exited the running vehicle and closed the door. Dawson alleges seeing the vehicle starting to roll backwards out of the corner of her eye and then began to give chase to stop her vehicle. She tried stopping it by pressing down on the brakes but was ejected.  The car ran her food over causing significant foot injuries.  Her personal injury attorney argues that the shifter doesn't include a safety override to allow drivers to exit the vehicle when it is not in park. 

Yelchin's story shows the importance of automakers sending recall notices out in a timely fashion - preferably as soon as the malfunction is discovered. In turn, owners of those vehicles owe it to the safety of themselves and others to quickly get the vehicle serviced by the manufacturer and/or their certified mechanics.

It is important to take immediate action when a vehicle is under recall. Ignoring the recall or getting the vehicle serviced too late may lead to serious consequences such as minor and fatal injuries and death, if the vehicle's malfunctions lead to a car accident and the possibility of serious injury.


Drivers who are interested in knowing if their vehicle is under recall are encouraged to look up their VIN number on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website. Have you or someone you know been injured in an accident involving a vehicle under recall? If so, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation today. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM.