November 8, 2012—Hemet, California—An 84-year-old man was the victim of a mistake when a car driven by his own wife accelerated and hit him, causing severe leg injuries.  The accident happened Wednesday afternoon in the garage of the man’s home in Hemet, according to the Press-Enterprise.

The victim was standing at a workbench on Sharp Drive when his wife, who was driving the couple’s Mazda Miata, attempted to back out of the garage.  Instead, she put the car in forward gear, accelerating and hitting her husband.  He was airlifted to a local hospital in critical condition.  His wife was not injured.  The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

My sincere wishes for a speedy recovery go out to this man and my sympathies go out to his wife on this terrible accident.

Accidents At Home Still Account for Many Deaths and Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 34.9 million injuries in homes across the United States in 2010.  About 11 percent of the population suffered a home injury in that year severe enough to require medical attention.  Over 177,000, or about one-half of one percent of the population, died from injuries in 2010.

This means that home accidents are still one of the leading causes of death in our country, despite strong campaigns to educate the public about the dangers that may be present in a home.  Homeowners and residents are in danger of many types of home accidents including fire, gas leaks, slip and fall accidents, and poisoning.

How Did This Accident Happen?

In determining the cause of the accident, it is important to consider the circumstances under which it occurred, including the make and model of the car the woman was driving.  Her age, 68, means that her reflex time might be slower than a young person’s, but this does not mean that the woman did not have time to react to the possibility of a collision, nor should we assume that she became “confused” about the car’s operation.  Therefore, there is the possibility that a defect in the design of the car led to this accident.  If that is the case, then the woman and her husband may have a claim against the company for defective design leading to injury.

Is The Miata Defective?

We cannot assume that there is a design defect without examining the interior of the car in question.  Miatas have a central-console gear shift that involves a “laddering” of the shifter with reverse coming before drive.  It is very possible that the woman shifted into reverse and that the shifter traveled into the drive position.  If this happened and caused the accident, then the victim may have grounds to claim defective design.  A defective products attorney should investigate this accident and make that determination.