Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A Pennsylvania man was recently awarded damages when he was seriously injured after his seat belt did not perform as intended.

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The accident occurred after one of the tires on his automobile popped. This caused the man’s vehicle, a Honda, to roll over, leaving him paralyzed. Evidence showed that the auto maker was aware that the driver’s seat belt would allow the driver’s head to strike the roof if it were to roll over. Despite this, it did nothing to rectify the issue via additional testing. It also did not let drivers know about the potential issue.

A jury awarded the man $14.6 for medical expenses and $25 million for past and future damages. In addition, the man’s wife received $15 million for loss of consortium. Honda has indicated that it plans to appeal the decision.

Cases such as this one often play a dual role. In addition to providing an injured individual with the compensation he or she needs to get by while dealing with devastating injuries, it also can serve as a catalyst for the business to change its policy regarding the defective product.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, “Jury awards accident victim $55 million over defective seat belt,” Jim Boyle, July 29, 2014

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