Co-authored by Cassidy Carroll of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.
Recently, a Texas jury ordered Audi to pay $124.5 million to an 11-year-old boy who was left brain-damaged, partially paralyzed and blinded in his right eye in a 2012 rear-end collision. The verdict is in response to Audi equipping their 2005 Audi A4 with a seat back that was too weak to withstand a rear-end crash.
At the trial, the parents of the boy argued that, despite wearing seatbelts, the inadequate seat back caused the front seat collapse resulting in the driver, the boy’s father, sliding backward and hitting his head on his son’s head in the back seat. The accident occurred when their car was rear-ended after they stopped for a school bus.
This case is one of many that have highlighted automakers’ responsibility to protect the American public from defectively manufactured automobiles. Whether it’s Takata’s airbag failures, General Motor’s faulty ignition switches, Honda’s failure to report death/injury claims, or Fiat Chrysler’s lapses in safety recalls, the American public is at risk of injury or death when unreasonably dangerous and defective automobiles are allowed on our streets. Civil lawsuits, along with government action, against the manufacturers of defective automobiles serve as tools to expose defective products, compensate those who have been injured or killed by these defective products and serve to improve future products and protect the public.
Hopefully with this latest case, Audi and other manufacturers will put even more emphasis on manufacturing automobiles that make the safety of drivers their first priority.