A jury in Denver recently awarded a personal injury plaintiff $52 million in damages after a collision in Castle Rock rendered her paralyzed, having lost the use of her legs and the substantial use of her hands. A personal injury attorney representing her told BizJournals.com that it is believed to be the highest damages award ever issued in a Colorado car accident lawsuit.
The defendants named in the lawsuit included the driver of the other vehicle, the maker of the windshield in her Honda vehicle, and the manufacturer of the seat belts, Japanese firm Takata Corp.
The plaintiff and her husband were driving south along the interstate when another driver suddenly crossed into their lane in front of them in order to make a fast U-turn at an emergency median crossing location. However, in making this maneuver, the driver struck the plaintiff’s vehicle, causing it to roll over several times.
As a result of the crash, the mother of four young children suffered a spinal cord injury at C6-7 as well as an injury to her cervical spine.
The vehicle in which she was driving was a 1994 Honda Civic.
Takata Corp., you may recall, has been slapped with numerous product liability lawsuits in recent years, following a massive (and ongoing) recall of its airbags, which are defective and put drivers and front seat passengers at risk of serious injuries when the bags explode with extreme force, spewing sharp shrapnel at occupants’ faces and necks.
In this case, there were two separate types of claims:
- Negligence by a driver;
- Product liability of two different manufacturers.
The first instance involves an allegation that the driver owed a basic duty of care to other motorists to use reasonable care in operating the motor vehicle. Their failure to do this resulted in an injury to the plaintiff, according to her claim.
The second type of claim, product liability, asserts that product manufacturers made or sold a product that was defective or unreasonably dangerous and that consumers were not adequately warned. When it comes to motor vehicles, manufacturers and dealers have a responsibility to make vehicles that are reasonably safe and free of known hazards. Granted, we all know driving can be risky, but vehicle manufacturers promise a certain degree of protection for those who ride in their cars or trucks. When their products fail, it may be possible to hold liable all those in the manufacturing process and chain of distribution, as well as (in some cases) those who were responsible for certain repairs.
Here, the allegation was that the seat belts and and the windshield failed to perform as promised and expected at the precise moment when their function was critical to the safety of occupants.
The plaintiff’s attorney argued this case before a jury comprised of mostly single millennials – no parents. Jurors deliberated for 8.5 hours before returning a verdict in the exact amount requested in favor of the car accident victim. Her lawyer later said this was indicative of the recognition of the severity of the crash and the injuries, as well as the responsibility to compensate the plaintiff to the fullest extent of the law.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Denver jury’s $52 million award to paralyzed woman sets Colorado personal-injury record, Nov. 19, 2016, By Monica Mendoza, Denver Business Journal
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