. .

Invest in your success.
JVRA helps lawyers win cases by providing critical information you can use to establish precedent, determine demand and win arguments.



Palm Beach County

This action stemmed from the death of a 19-year-old female college student after the ________ Kia Sportage she was driving was involved in a rollover accident. The plaintiff alleged that the vehicle was defectively designed, dangerous and uncrashworthy. The plaintiff also asserted theories of negligence in the testing, marketing and manufacturing of the vehicle. The defendant manufacturer and distributor maintained that the sportage was not defective, exceeded all industry standards and that the decedent’s death was the result of the severity of the crash.

On November 7, ________, the decedent was involved in an accident on the Florida Turnpike in which the Kia sportage she was driving rolled over. The roof of the vehicle was crushed in the roll over, killing the decedent.

An eyewitness, who was traveling in the right lane, testified that a black sports car drove up behind the decedent’s car, which was traveling in the left lane and began flashing its headlights. The decedent did not move over to the right lane and the black sports car passed it on the right side, cut in front of it and applied its brakes, according to the witness. Evidence showed that the decedent’s car braked, turned to the right, turned to the left, slid for some 90 feet and then rolled over between five and six times.

The unidentified driver of the black sports left the scene and was listed on the verdict form as a Fabre defendant. The posted speed limit in the location the accident was 70 mph. Both sides estimated the speeds involved to be 70 to 80 mph. The plaintiff’s expert testified that the decedent was traveling at 62 mph at the time of the roll over.

The plaintiff’s experts contended that the subject Kia Sportage was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous because of roll over tendencies. The plaintiff also claimed that the vehicle was not crashworthy in that it had insufficient roof support to prevent the roof from collapsing, resulting in the decedent’s death. The plaintiff’s expert engineer testified that the subject vehicle should have included more steel in the roof structure. He presented an alternative design which included more steel between the "B" pillars and a stronger windshield header.

The decedent was attending college at the time of her death. She was pronounced dead at the scene without ever having regained consciousness.

The cause of death was listed as massive head injuries. The decedent was survived by her parents and one younger brother.

The defendant maintained that the design and manufacture of the vehicle met all industry standards and was neither defective nor dangerous.

The defense argued that the forces generated during the accident were so severe as to cause the decedent’s death, regardless of the vehicle she was driving.

The defendant’s roof structure expert testified that crash testing showed that the Kia Sportage roof structure exceeded all federal standards and was stronger than any other sports utility roof structure in production at the time of manufacture.

The defendant maintained that there was no testing to support the plaintiff’s claim that the proposed alternative design would have prevented the decedent’s death. The defendant’s human factors expert testified that statistics of roll over accidents show that the Kia Sportage compares favorably to other sports utility vehicles in that it does not roll over as often as other SUVs.

The jury found that the vehicle was, in fact, defective and awarded the plaintiff $10 million in damages. The jury found the defendant ________% negligent and assessed no negligence to the decedent or to the unidentified driver of the black sports car. The award included $2.5 million in past pain and suffering and $2.5 million in future pain and suffering for each of the surviving parents. The case is currently on appeal.

To read the full article, please login to your account or purchase

5 ways to win with JVRA

JVRA gives you jurisdiction-specific, year-round insight into the strategies, arguments and tactics that win. Successful attorneys come to the table prepared and use JVRA to:

  1. Determine if a case is winnable and recovery amounts.
  2. Determine reasonable demand for a case early on.
  3. Support a settlement demand by establishing precedent.
  4. Research trial strategies, tactics and arguments.
  5. Defeat or support post-trial motions through past case histories.

Try JVRA for a day or a month, or sign up for our deluxe Litigation Support Plan and put the intelligence of JVRA to work for all of your clients. See our subscription plans.