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Hard-Fought Cases: Victory in the Courtroom

By: Larry E. Coben, Anapol Weiss Shareholder

$28 Million Award in Seat Collapse Case

A jury awarded one of our clients twenty-eight million dollars against the manufacturer of the car she was riding as a passenger. The seat collapsed in a rear-end collision, throwing our client into the back seat where she struck her head and became paralyzed from the neck down. The driver’s seat did not fail and he walked away.

Hard-Fought Cases - Victory in the CourtroomHard-Fought Cases - Victory in the Courtroom
Illustration of the seat failure in a rear-end collision

Evidence at trial proved that since the 1970s car companies understood vehicle occupants including front seat occupants and children riding in the back seat are at risk of suffering severe injury or death when their vehicle is rear-ended and the front seat collapses. We called to testify an automotive expert who explained that he has been involved in hundreds of seatback failure cases and showed that these seats collapse in typical rear-end collisions at speeds as low as 30 mph. Instead of providing crash safety equivalent to what seatbelts do in 30 mph front crashes, these collapsing seats launch the passenger into the rear seat. There was no legitimate excuse for this flawed design.