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ARTICLE ID 191211

$________ – PRODUCT LIABILITY – DEFECTIVE DESIGN – BREACH OF WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY – IMPROPER PLACEMENT OF SIDE AIR BAG SENSOR – FAILURE TO DEPLOY – SEVERE TBI TO 16-YEAR-OLD PLAINTIFF.

Pulaski County, VA

In this product liability matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant car manufacturer was negligent in placing the side air bag sensor in a location that resulted in the sensor failing to deploy during a side impact collision, which resulted in the plaintiff driver sustaining a severe traumatic brain injury. The defendant denied the allegations and maintained that the vehicle complied with and exceeded federal safety standards.

The plaintiff was the owner of a ________ Hyundai Tiburon manufactured by the defendant. On February 27, ________, the 16-year-old was operating his vehicle when his vehicle left the road, hit a snow bank, traveled down a hill and struck a sycamore tree with the driver’s side of the vehicle. The plaintiff’s head struck the roof rail on the vehicle when the car came into contact with the tree. The plaintiff alleged that the side air bag failed to deploy and caused the plaintiff’s injuries. He was diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury which left him having to relearn simple daily tasks such as walking and talking.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant alleging negligence. The plaintiff contended that the plaintiff placed the sensor for the side air bag in a location which was dangerous because it prevented the sensor from deploying the air bag in a crash such as the one in this matter. The sensor was located under the driver’s seat. The plaintiff contended that had the sensor been placed in a different location, it would have deployed and prevented the plaintiff’s head injury.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant car manufacturer alleging negligence and breach of the warranty of merchantability. The plaintiff contended that the placement of the air bag sensor was in the wrong location and prevented the sensor from detecting the collision. The defendant denied the allegations. The defendant contended that the vehicle passed and exceeded federal safety standards. The defendant contended that the vehicle was safe and since the vehicle rolled at a low speed (under 20 miles per hour) into a tree, it did not warrant a side airbag deployment. Further, the defendant contended that that major impact to the vehicle was the roof and even if the side air bag did deploy it would not have prevented the injury.

The matter was tried over a period of two weeks.At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated for ten hours and returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. The jury awarded the plaintiff the sum of $________ in damages along with $________ for past medical expenses. It is likely that post-trial motions and an appeal will be filed in this matter.

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