Van crash yields $15 million product liability award

A family physician that lives in Philadelphia was driving through the rain from Pennsylvania to New York with her family in a van from a local car-share service. The six occupants were making the drive to watch the physician’s daughter perform in a school play, but what should have been a fun trip met devastating ends.

The ball joint in the 2006 Toyota Sienna form the car-share service failed, which caused the car to roll down a ravine. The terrifying accident resulted in serious injuries for the occupants. Among the numerous broken bones suffered by the physician, she also suffered both a lung and heart contusion, and an injury that permanently damaged the use of her left arm.

Not only did these injuries condemn the victims to grueling recoveries, but as a result of the permanent injuries suffered by the physician, she can no longer perform her duties as a doctor.

Just last week we blogged about the huge safety risks posed by defective auto parts, and the manner in which compensation can be available when a defective part results in an accident that causes injuries. The victims of this van crash were able to successfully secure compensation for their injuries and sufferings under a claim of product liability. The failed vehicle was maintained by Central City Toyota, so the suit alleged that the dealership was liable for this accident.

While the dealership argued that the accident occurred because the physician was driving too fast in rainy conditions, jurors agreed with the plaintiff that this horrific accident was caused by product failure and product defect, among other acts of negligence on behalf of the dealership.

Accordingly, the jurors awarded a total of $15 million to the victims of this product liability case. The physician specifically was awarded $11.4 million in order to compensate her for her medical care, and the wages that she lost in losing her practice due to her injuries.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, “Philly jury awards $15 million to plaintiff in products liability case against Toyota,” Jon Campisi, April 5, 2013

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