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Hard-Fought Cases: $12 Million Victory

By: Larry E. Coben, Anapol Weiss Shareholder

Uncovering Hidden Dangers in a Catastrophic SUV Rollover

A Twelve Million Dollar settlement was reached for a teenager living in Western Pennsylvania, after he suffered catastrophic brain injury in a one vehicle rollover. While riding as a front seat passenger in an older model SUV, the driver lost control and the vehicle rolled over and during the rollover this young man was partially ejected out the passenger door window. While the police attributed this accident to driver error by a teenage driver, our investigation proved otherwise.

We inspected the wreckage and found that the front sway bar was fractured and separated.

Hard-Fought Cases: $12 Million Victory (1)Hard-Fought Cases: $12 Million Victory (1)

We then set out to prove that the driver’s loss of control was caused by a rusted-out sway bar. We proved that a retail business marketing itself as a certified Pa. State Inspector station had failed to identify the corrosion surrounding the front sway bar, allowing the SUV to go back on the road in a dangerous condition.

A vehicle with the level of corrosion to the body and undercarriage shown on this Explorer warranted that a licensed State Inspector provide adequate and necessary cautionary instructions to the owner before operating it on the road.  This level of deterioration should have raised serious questions about the integrity of the suspension components including the steering linkage.  This level of corrosion should have prompted a thorough inspection of the steering linkage, which would have included the sway bar links, and that inspection would have revealed the fractured linkage.

Once we established negligence, we then conducted vehicle testing driving the same type SUV with and without a detached sway bar to prove causation.

Hard-Fought Cases: $12 Million Victory (2)Hard-Fought Cases: $12 Million Victory (2)

Our team of experts, including an accident reconstruction engineer, a service station/state inspection safety expert, vehicle handling expert and metallurgist mounted a full-frontal attack to prove that this crash and this young man’s catastrophic injuries were caused by the defendant’s neglect. This long arduous process led to a wonderful result for a family in desperate need of financial help.