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ARTICLE ID 4761

Defective ________ Toyota 4-Runner - Rollover propensity - Defective seatbelt - Quadriparesis.

U.S. District Court, District of Kansas

This action arose out of a single vehicle rollover accident involving a ________ Toyota 4-Runner sports utility vehicle. The 30- year-old female plaintiff driver suffered a broken neck with quadriparesis and partial paralysis over the left side of her body as a result of the accident.

The plaintiff contended that the Toyota 4-Runner had an unreasonably dangerous propensity to roll over, and a defective seatbelt system.

The subject accident occurred on December 10, ________, when the plaintiff’s Toyota 4-Runner went out of control and rolled over. The vehicle traveled off the road down a sloped embankment over a fence and into a pasture area. As the vehicle came to rest, the rear axle broke from impact.

The plaintiff contended that she was wearing her seat belt which spooled out unexpectedly and caused her to strike the windshield header area above the steering wheel. The plaintiff alleged that the 4-Runner is too high, too narrow and too top-heavy and as such, has a defective propensity to tip and roll over during turning maneuvers or collisions.

In addition, the plaintiff alleged that the seat belts in the Toyota 4-Runner are defective and fail to secure occupants during rollovers.

The medical evidence indicated that the plaintiff suffers from quadriparesis and requires the use of a cane to ambulate outside the house. She suffers spasticity at times in her left appendages and partial paralysis of her left hand. The plaintiff was prepared to introduce past medical expenses of $________. The Kansas statutory cap of damages for pain and suffering of $________ applies to the his case. Punitive damages were alleged by the plaintiff.

The defendant maintained that the Toyota 4-Runner does not have a dangerous rollover propensity and that its seatbelt system is safe.

The vehicle and its components meet all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. The defense maintained that the accident was caused by the plaintiff’s driving too fast for the conditions and hitting a patch of ice unexpectedly as she rounded a corner in the road. The 4-Runner then traveled off the road down an embankment and furrowed into the dirt, tripping and landing with such violence that the rear axle broke on impact in the soft dirt field, according to the defense claims. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused when, during the violent rollover, her head slipped to the left and struck the roof above the driver’s door. The defendant disputed the plaintiff’s claimed that the seatbelt spooled out during the rollover.

The case settled for an undisclosed amount four days before the scheduled trial date.

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