$3.75 Million Settlement for Auto Product Liability

The firm represented a man who was paralyzed when the SUV he was riding in rolled over on a highway after to lost control. The driver of the SUV said that it began to fishtail after a slight lane correction. The unexpected loss of directional control caused ever increasing yaws (sliding of the back end of the vehicle). After several maneuvers, the SUV rolled over on the road way. During the roll the SUV’s roof structure completely collapsed driving into the head of the man and fracturing his spine.

As with many accidents and injuries there was more than one cause for this one. In fact, it’s been recognized good practice by the auto industry for more than 2 decades to design cars to deal with pre-crash, during-crash and post-crash events that could cause injury to the people who buy their cars. The firm uncovered the fact that a key safety technology – Electronic Stability Control or “ESC” – was planned and tested for inclusion in the SUV by the company’s engineers but was never installed. We worked with a team of engineers to retrofit and test the same SUV with the company’s existing ESC system to show that it was an inexpensive and easy fix that would have prevented the rollover from ever occurring.

But the firm did not stop there. They also worked with another team of engineers to show that the SUV’s roof was so weak that it failed recognized industry strength tests. While the manufacturer argued that the roof met the minimum government standard, the firm proved that it could be made much safer by the addition of steel costing only a few dollars. The case settled prior to trial for $3.75 million.