In 2011, the plaintiffs were driving a rented SUV from New York to Washington, DC. The 53 year old father was driving, his wife was in the passenger seat, and their three teenage daughters were seated in the rear. The SUV was equipped with a rollover sensing airbag system that was designed to keep occupants contained within the vehicle in the event it was involved in a rollover accident. Tragically for the father, who was belted, the SUV was involved in a single vehicle rollover, and he was partially ejected from the vehicle during the roll sequence, and killed in front of his wife and daughters. The side curtain airbags in vehicle failed to deploy in the accident.
We were contacted shortly following this tragic accident. They immediately took steps to preserve the vehicle, and quickly realized that the side curtain rollover airbags should have deployed in this accident sequence. Their investigation also revealed that the daughter who was seated directly behind her father suffered significant cervical injuries which required surgery, as well as a fracture to her left femur. Feldman Shepherd attorneys recognized that these injuries were caused by the failure of the seatbelts in the SUV to hold her in place during the roll sequence.
The vehicle manufacturer contested all of these claims, and argued that the airbags did not deploy because this accident involved a “slow developing roll.” They also contended that the seatbelts appropriately restrained the daughter, who was injured by the significant accident forces brought to bear on her side of the vehicle. The Feldman Shepherd attorneys retained leading experts in the field of airbag design, seatbelts and restraint design, biomechanics and accident reconstruction to contest these arguments.
The case resulted in a confidential settlement with the vehicle manufacturer that will help support the survivors of the tragic accident.