Hyundai Sued After Rear-End Accident Collision
Hyundai lost a record $38.1 in a product liability lawsuit involving a traffic accident. The plaintiff was catastrophically injured in the crash suffering paralysis injuries. While wrongful death lawsuits seem like they would pay out the most money, catastrophic injury suits are generally more expensive to settle. In these cases, the plaintiff requires intensive medical intervention and they will never be the same again. Hence, why the verdict in this case is so high.
The accident and allegations against Hyundai
According to the plaintiff, Hyundai was primarily responsible for the extent of his injuries even though he was rear-ended by another driver. The claim against the driver would have been settled separately, but in many cases, a driver’s insurance does not provide enough capital to manage the plaintiff’s healthcare.
The plaintiff successfully argued that a defect in the seats was primarily to blame for the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff argued that they would have walked away from the accident but for the defect in Hyundai’s seats.
Hyundai denied liability in the case claiming that the other driver was responsible for the accident and the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries was the result of a pre-existing spinal problem.
Analyzing defense strategy
Two tried and true methods of defending a civil claim based on injury is to blame the accident on someone else and argue that pre-existing conditions were more to blame for the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries than defective seating. In some cases, this will work and not all juries will respond to a defense in the same way.
After the jury returned a nuclear verdict in favor of the plaintiff, Hyundai appealed the decision to a higher court and lost again when the appeals court refused to hear their claim.
The basis for the appeal was that the trial court erred when it admitted the testimony of expert witnesses who compared the design to previous models that did not have the same problems. The experts testified concerning the link between the defect and specific injuries suffered by the plaintiff. Ultimately, the court ruled that there was no strong basis for overturning the jury’s verdict and that the verdict would stand.
The plaintiffs were able to uncover evidence that there was a defect in the seats that Hyundai implemented in 2013 as a way to reduce the cost of building vehicles. Two engineering experts testified on behalf of the plaintiff stating that the injuries would not have existed or been as severe as they were without this design defect.
Appeals in nuclear verdicts
Large verdicts such as these almost always become the basis for an appeal. The defense (obviously) does not want to pay out a massive sum so they contest the claim as hard as they can for as long as they can.
However, with the appeal denied the defense is out of options.
Talk to a Florida Product Liability Lawyer Today
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