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Park-to-Reverse Accidents

Motorist in Texas and nationwide have suffered disabling injuries in accidents caused by their vehicles suddenly moving into reverse gear.

If a park-to-reverse accident has happened to you, the personal injury lawyer who protects your rights — specifically your right to obtain maximum financial compensation for all accident-related expenses, including vehicle repair or replacement — is Richard D. Weaver, founder of The Weaver Law Firm in Houston.

When The Weaver Law Firm represents you in negotiations with insurers for motor vehicle manufacturers, or in court for litigation against them, you benefit from Richard D. Weaver’s many years of investigative and trial experience. Our law office is well known in Harris County, San Antonio and across South Texas for its effective, efficient counsel, loyalty to our clients and attentive personal service.

Park-to-reverse defects in certain makes and models of U.S. cars have played prominent roles in accidents causing serious injury, catastrophic injury and wrongful death legal actions nationwide. Manufacturer may have issued recalls for some models.

A “park-to-reverse” defect can exist in a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission when there is inadequate mechanical force (called “detenting force”) provided by the automatic transmission system to ensure that a vehicle always defaults into an intended gear position (such as park or reverse) when an operator does not fully shift into that intended gear position.

In a vehicle with a park-to-reverse defect, an operator of the vehicle in normal use can inadvertently and unintentionally place the shift selector between the intended park and reverse gear positions. Rather than defaulting into the park or reverse gear position inside the transmission (called a detent) as it would in a properly designed vehicle which meets industry standards, in a vehicle with a park-to-reverse defect, the shift selector can remain for a period of time (several seconds or longer) between the intended park and reverse gear positions and from this “false park” position the vehicle then may (or may not) have a delayed engagement of powered reverse.

Because of the possible delay in the engagement of reverse gear when an operator places the vehicle into what, from the vehicle’s “cues,” the operator would reasonably believe to be park, the park-to-reverse defect is unreasonably dangerous because an operator may have exited the vehicle, or be exiting the vehicle, when the vehicle suddenly and unexpectedly moves backwards in powered reverse.

As a result of injuries and deaths resulting from park-to-reverse accidents (sometimes referred to as inadvertent rearward movement) from at least the 1950’s and 1960’s, the automobile industry, and Ford in particular, (in Richard Weaver’s opinion) has long been aware of the defect, and the need to design vehicles so as to prevent the vehicle’s shift selector from being inadvertently placed in a position between the intended gear positions from which the vehicle can then have a delayed engagement of reverse.

Vehicle manufacturers are well aware of the need to design its automatic transmission system so that an operator could not leave the vehicle between park and reverse from which there could be a delayed engagement of reverse. Notice to vehicle manufacturers of the need to avoid a park-to-reverse defect included:

  • Numerous park-to-reverse incidents on various vehicles in the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s about which a certain manufacturer received notice of through customer complaints; these included hundreds of complaints on a wide range of models equipped with same or substantially similar transmissions;
  • FORD investigated the park-to-reverse safety issue in the early 1970’s. It was, at that time, the third highest volume safety complaint being logged in Customer Relations Potential problem reports;
  • Numerous reports of injuries and deaths and an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of Ford’s vehicles equipped with C-3, C-4, C-6, FMX and JATCA Automatic Transmissions. In 1980, NHTSA received reports of over 23,000 problems of inadvertent vehicle movement of Ford built vehicles, resulting in $5,593 accidents, 1,720 injuries and 97 deaths.
  • In February 1980, Ford reported knowledge of 2,252 accidents, 1,818 property damage, 703 injuries and 42 fatalities involving vehicles where inadvertent rearward movement was involved. FORD also reported at least 361 lawsuits involving allegations of inadvertent rearward movement.
  • In a political agreement signed with the Department of Transportation, over the objections of NHTSA, on December 30, 1980, Ford agreed to send warning labels to approximately 22 million owners rather than, as NHTSA believed necessary, recalling them for mechanical repair.
  • A 1985 NHTSA study found that Ford park-to-reverse accidents had caused a total of at least 306 deaths.
  • In October 1991, Ford instituted a recall of Ford Aerostars, Bronco II’s, Explorers and Rangers built in 1989-1991 to remedy a park-to-reverse problem in these vehicles.
  • Well aware of the cause of the defect, and its danger, Ford designed the circuit boards in certain of its vehicles so Ford could easily install an out-of-park alarm to warn drivers when the vehicle was in false park.

Despite numerous accidents, injuries, and deaths in park-to-reverse accidents, Defendant FORD elected not to install out-of-park alarms on all of its vehicles susceptible to park-to-reverse problems or design its vehicles’ transmissions to prevent the problem.

The standard of care in the automobile industry is to fully investigate complaints or reports received by an automobile manufacturer which appear to pose a potential or actual safety risk.

The investigative process by which complaints or incident reports are investigated is a technique called root cause analysis in which the vehicle manufacturer’s engineering staff or outside consultants will (a) determine if the issue is safety-related; (b) carefully analyze the complaint to fully understand it; (c) attempt to reproduce the complaint on the subject vehicle or an exemplar; (d) determine if the problem is a manifestation of a unique vehicle feature ( e.g., a vehicle manufacturing defect); (e) if the problem is not so identified identify the engineering feature of the product which allows for the mechanical system to perform in the manner complained of; and (f) determine if there is an engineering solution through redesigning the product which will prevent it as a mechanical system from manifesting the complaint in the system or if an adequate redress is not feasible, then warn adequately to prevent injury.

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt by the unintentional rear-ward movement of a Ford Vehicle, F-150, or F-250, or your car due to a defective transmission, causing an accident, we urge you to be in touch with us immediately. Substantial punitive damages have been rewarded in cases like these around the country. Richard D. Weaver will work hard to help you defray your lost wages, medical bills and car repair in a settlement that also reflects your pain and suffering, and emotional trauma.

Experienced, Effective Legal Representation

Contact The Weaver Law Firm in Houston to discuss the details of your park-to-reverse accident and the injuries you sustained. Your initial consultation is free of charge and can be conducted at your home or hospital room if you are confined there while recovering. Call 713-454-7875 or send an email. Se habla español.

Our contingency fee policy means you owe no attorney fee unless we win or settle your case.

Se habla español: Spanish-speaking services are available at our law office.

Contact us today

Awards & Recognition

Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
Houstonia | Top Lawyers

I have used Mr. Weaver on two occasions. The first case was a rather complicated financial real estate deal gone bad with a former partner. Through his dedication, he accomplished my primary goal and my secondary goal. He took my case to trial and won. I recommend him to all of those who need representation on such issues. Additionally, he also was a kind and understanding individual.

Houston, Texas

When my husband and I decided to expand our business and create a new charity organization in Houston, we sought out an attorney who was not only professional, knowledgeable, and timely, but also personable and accessible. Attorney Richard Weaver has exceeded our expectations in all of the categories that were important to us. It is so refreshing to have someone who listens and gives honest advice on how to conduct our business and personal affairs. Mr. Weaver has been with us every step of the way. He was there with us in the beginning stages and gave us advice on everything from becoming incorporated to website content! I love his attention to detail and ability to listen. When my father passed away in 2010, he was right there to walk us through the probate of his will. I felt an immediate ease once I placed those documents in Richard's hands because I knew he'd take care of it all. In all, we will be clients of Richard's for life because we never think twice of who we need to call when we need legal advice and/or services. We consider him a part of both our business and family because he has proven to be trustworthy and dependable. Thanks so much Richard for being more that we could've ever hoped for in an attorney!

Rodney Hampton (Super Bowl Champion, Former New York Giants Running Back)
& Andetria Hampton

Richard and The Weaver Law Firm have been very committed to seeing our case through to success. His diligence in discovery and superior litigation skills helped obtain a favorable award and a very favorable judgment. It's never a pleasant experience to be sued, but we sued back and won. We found a trustworthy attorney and a good friend throughout the experience.

Thai Klam
Remax 360

I would like to thank The Weaver Law Firm. After I was injured from a consumer product, The Weaver Law Firm helped me get compensation I deserved. I was very pleased with the quality, attentiveness and responsiveness of their services. I would gladly recommend this law firm to anyone who has a problem of any kind.

Kimberly Velez
Houston, Texas

It is with great pleasure that I recommend the services of The Weaver Law Firm. I have utilized the firm for over three years. Richard Weaver has provided legal representation crucial to my business. During these years, Richard has served us in various areas that include representing the company, business planning, company formation, litigation and court proceedings. He has a professional and personal commitment to my company. We consider The Weaver Law Firm an essential part of our business. It is our utmost true belief that he will provide the same high quality of service to you.

Richard Peinado, President
Peace of Mind Services, LLC
Houston, Texas

My company and I started working with the firm since the beginning of 2012. This is an honest firm, hard at work. We never had to hire a law firm prior to 2012, and we are not going anywhere else. Thank you, Richard. And thank you to all your staff for all the great help, service and attention to our needs.

Josué Munguía, President
Trinity Distribution, LLC
Humble, Texas

The Weaver Law Firm was highly professional, easy to work with and most importantly, time-sensitive to the clients' needs. During our lease negotiations, Richard Weaver was readily available and was very helpful in making progress to finalize the deal. I will recommend The Weaver Law Firm to my future clients and look forward to working with Richard again.

Richard E. Buxbaum, RADIUS Realty Advisors
Houston, Texas 77057

As a small business enterprise, it's important to have a good support network. The Weaver Law Firm is a valuable resource providing professionalism, expertise and reliability for my company. Whether it's contract review or filing with the state for corporate requirements, I know I can count on Richard and his team.

Enrique Cortez, President
Enitial Advanced Communications
San Antonio, Texas and Washington, D.C.

Richard Weaver and The Weaver Law Firm are very thorough and professional. They get the job done. I enjoy doing business with them. They explain everything in layman's terms and I would recommend this firm to anyone in the construction field. Thanks Richard!!

Terry Bynum, Owner
Able Paving
Houston, Texas 77205

My husband and I asked Richard Weaver to form a partnership agreement for a beach property when we were selling half our interest to another party. Richard did an outstanding job. He produced the necessary documents in a timely manner that thoroughly covered all aspects of our transfer of ownership. It was a pleasure to do business with such a professional and ethical firm.

Mary Ann Wosenitz
Houston, Texas

I have used The Weaver Law firm for quite some time. Richard's knowledge and experience have always helped me. He has also saved me plenty of headaches. He is always straightforward and honest. He clearly explains what my options are and always answers all my questions promptly. In the future, if I ever need someone to represent me, or advise me on my commercial lease contracts it's always going to be Richard Weaver. I always recommend his law firm to everyone I know.

Rafael Garcia, President
Sav-On Mattress Outlet LLC

Richard is a skilled, hardworking attorney who is passionate about his client's success.

Isaac W. Kyle, CEO
iCityCondo, Inc.

During the real estate boom, my wife and I invested in more than 10 houses in Houston mainly due to low entry prices and positive cash flow even though we lived in California. Naturally, we had to hire a property manager to take care of those houses for us. It was going fine for several months. But the property manager started sending money late and in the end, the property manager went in hiding after taking all of our rent income for several months. My wife and I decided to hire Richard Weaver as our lawyer after learning about his client reviews and background. At first, we did not know what to expect, but we didn't want to give up. We were not sure whether we would be able to recover anything. But Richard worked hard on our case and kept us informed during the process. Richard was wonderfully patient and understanding. Finally, to our pleasant surprise, he brought us a successful civil case when other lawyers had simply given up. His attention to detail surely helped win this case. On top of that, Richard is also very resourceful and worked within the budget we gave him. We can't say enough about the work Richard did on our behalf and highly recommend him for any real estate related legal matters.

and Hee
El Segundo, California

As a client of The Weaver Law Firm, I was extremely pleased with their services. In 2008, I sold my home in a short sell. The property transaction closed and title to the property passed to the new buyers. But the title agent/Esquire Title, LLC, failed to pay off the lien holder/lender, Wells Fargo. Evidently, Esquire initially tried to pay off the wrong lender. Before Esquire could or did pay Wells Fargo the new pay-off amount, the Texas Department of Insurance took over Esquire's operations, discontinued all residential real estate transactions being handled by Esquire, and froze Esquire's bank accounts. Thus, the funds intended to pay Wells Fargo were trapped in Esquire's bank account and never used to pay Wells Fargo. And Wells Fargo looked to me for payment. Wells Fargo sued me and the new owners of the property. After finding Mr. Weaver, he handled everything for me and kept me up to date on how the case was going. He was able to get a settlement showing that I owe nothing, which cleared me of all claims. Wells Fargo dropped their claims against me. It was reassuring to know that I had an attorney taking care of everything on my behalf. Mr. Weaver was very knowledgeable in real estate laws and looked out for my best interest. Thank you, Mr. Weaver.

Nikki Blaze
Houston, Texas

The Weaver firm efficiently handled some small business filings for me at a reasonable cost. I plan to continue to use the firm to meet my needs.

Joe Adams
Houston, Texas

Realtors are responsible for making real estate transactions run as smooth as possible, however, when there are problems, a real estate lawyer is necessary. For our family, Richard Weaver was just the lawyer for us.

I can safely say that Richard Weaver is a knowledgeable real estate lawyer from the point of drafting of the purchase agreement through and post closing.

Our issues involved environmental issues, seller disclosure and financing. Without Mr. Weaver's expertise, our situation could have been far more expensive to fix than if he had been involved post closing.

I now know that as buyers or sellers of real estate, people should consult an attorney before they sign the purchase agreement. This agreement spells out the terms of the transaction. By the time it is signed, it is often too late for the attorney to do anything about a problem with the real estate.

In our case we had already unknowingly signed a purchase agreement. Fortunately, Mr. Weaver was able to move swiftly and accurately towards resolution. He was able to lower the purchase price substantially and save us tens of thousands of dollars on the purchase of our dream home.

I liken hiring Richard Weaver to purchasing an insurance policy. When people wait until they know they need a lawyer, it is usually too late to find one. And if it isn't too late, it will usually cost much more to get a lawyer involved once the deal has gone awry. Many real estate transactions are time-sensitive and a responsive and attentive attorney can save the transaction or at least advise clients on the best options they have available.

In our specific case, we found Richard Weaver, who moved quickly and aggressively, charged fair attorney fees, and was able to make the fairest deal possible for our situation.

Believe me, in the future Mr. Weaver will review all of our real estate transactions beforehand. As a matter of fact, we found Richard Weaver to be so personable, intelligent and responsible. He is now our family attorney for all legal matters, which we may face in the future.

Jennifer Burke Tomball, Texas