Milwaukee , Wis. –Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. is pleased to announce that Attorneys Robert L. Jaskulski and Molly C. Lavin successfully negotiated the settlement of a product liability lawsuit pending before the Los Angeles County Circuit Court on behalf of a young child who suffered a serious brain injury in a motor vehicle crash that occurred in 2009 in the City of Los Angeles.
The child was injured when the family’s 2007 Chrysler Pacifica was rear-ended on the freeway, causing the driver-side seat to collapse due to a design defect in the structure of the seat. When the seat collapsed, the child’s father was propelled into the rear occupant compartment, striking his daughter in the head and causing a skull fracture and traumatic brain injury. The other occupants in the vehicle suffered only minor injuries.
The product liability team at Habush Habush & Rottier worked closely with experts in the field of automobile engineering, crash reconstruction and pediatric brain injuries to bring this case to a successful conclusion. The amount of the settlement remains confidential.
The auto industry has long known car seats do not hold up in certain kinds of rear-end crashes where the vehicle is hit at a high rate of speed. During a seatback failure, people in the backseat, especially small children, are at risk for catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries. The internal documents show the cost to fix the problem could be on the order of about $1 per seat.
The problem has caused many members of Congress to urge the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to change the seatback strength standard. The agency has consistently maintained it lacks sufficient evidence to take action, but has also acknowledged seatback collapse is likely under-reported. CBS News recently conducted an investigation regarding seat back failure. After interviewing lawyers and reviewing court cases, the investigation identified more than 100 people who suffered severe injuries or death due to seat back failure related crashes since 1989. The majority of these victims were children.
Lead counsel in the case, Rob Jaskulski, has a warning for parents:
“Until NHTSA takes action to address seatback safety, parents need to be aware of the potential dangers associated with seatback failure. To protect your family, children should be placed behind unoccupied seats or behind seats occupied by lighter weight passengers. Parents should also ensure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt (lap and shoulder belt) and that children riding in the vehicle are seated in properly installed, height and weight appropriate car seats or booster seats.”