by Adam Dunning June 23rd, 2010
A jury in California has ruled in favour of a family whose daughters died in a car crash involving a recalled vehicle.
The parents of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, from Santa Cruz, were awarded $15 million after filing a lawsuit against the San Francisco office of Enterprise Rent-A-Car claiming wrongful death. The two women perished in a fiery accident inside a car that had been part of a safety recall but was never repaired by the largest car rental company in the US.
Enterprise has been contesting the allegations since they were first brought about in 2004, before admitting in May this year that they had been negligent and that this negligence was the sole cause for the fatalities, in a report by their attorneys.
Enterprise, the nation’s largest rental car company, and its corporate parent contested the lawsuit for five years, they then admitted in May they were negligent and that “their negligence was the sole proximate cause of the fatal injuries” suffered by, according to a document signed by their attorneys. Laura Bryant, spokeswoman for Enterprise, said the company would be issuing a statement later today. The mother of the two women, Carol “Cally” Houck, said the issue was one of vital importance to consumers, citing an earlier deposition from Enterprise which stated that the group had no plans to alter its policy in relation to recalled vehicles that were part of their fleet.
In October 2004, Raechel Houck, 24, rented a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser for her and her sister, a month after Daimler Chrysler had issued a recall for the model, saying that fire could result from a leak in the power steering hose. No repairs were made to the vehicle which was rented three times prior to the accident, in which the vehicle crossed the median barrier and slammed into a rig, exploding into flames.