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Jury awards $55 million to Pennsylvania man in auto defect claim

Posted in Products Liability on Thursday, July 17, 2014.

A motor vehicle that is not properly designed and manufactured may fail to operate safely. Unfortunately, lapses do occur, and when this happens, consumers using defective automobiles can be at risk.

A Pennsylvania man did not expect that driving his Acura Integra to work would unexpectedly change his life. The 57-year-old man was driving his vehicle in suburban Baltimore in 2010 when a tire blew out. The man lost control of the vehicle and it rolled over. The single car accident left him paralyzed. Subsequently, the man filed a product liability lawsuit against Honda Motor Corporation, the manufacturer of the Integra. The lawsuit alleged the Integra’s faulty seat belt design contributed to his paralysis. The plaintiff alleged that the seatbelt failed to protect his head from hitting the roof as the vehicle rolled over.

Recently, the man was awarded $55.3 million in damages. A Philadelphia jury found Honda liable and made the award for the victim’s future medical expenses, loss of earnings, loss of consortium and pain and suffering. Honda is planning to appeal the jury’s verdict. A company spokesman stated that Honda denies any problems with the seatbelt design and manufacture. The company maintains that the man’s injuries were not caused by any defects in the vehicle.

Defective products can put consumers’ safety at risk for accidents, injuries or even death. The law allows victims to sue the designers and manufacturers of defective products. If a victim can prove the product was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous for its intended use, or for any reasonably foreseeable use, the victim may be entitled to monetary damages for their injuries.

Source: Claims Journal, “Pennsylvania Jury Orders Honda to Pay $55M Verdict in Rollover Crash,” July 1, 2014