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Woman awarded $43.1 million for defective product injury

When we get behind the wheel of a car, we trust that everything about the vehicle is safe--from the body’s exterior, to the airbags and seatbelts, to the inside structure. We rely on auto manufacturers’ stringent safety testing and product recalls to make sure we’re only operating safe and reliable vehicles. Sadly, dangerous products make their way onto the market now and then, resulting in consumer injury or death. Products liability laws exist in Georgia to ensure manufacturers continue to build their products as safely as possible.

A huge settlement was awarded to a Vermont woman and her two sons, as a result of a product liability lawsuit against Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee. The company makes seats for automobiles, which the woman and her family alleged caused her severe injuries in a 2007 car accident. The woman won over $43 million to cover her past and future medical bills and health care, past and future loss of income, and pain and suffering.

In the accident, the woman’s car seat collapsed when her vehicle was struck from behind by another driver. She was left a quadriplegic, even though her case said she should have survived the accident without severe injury. Johnson Controls disputes their liability in the case and is considering an appeal.

An attorney who commented on the case says large verdicts like this ensure manufacturers will continue to seek optimum consumer safety with their products. It’s always a tragedy when a life-changing accident occurs, and holding companies responsible can ensure more people don’t suffer in the future.

Source:, “Essex Junction family awarded $43.1 million in personal injury suit,” Hilary Niles, July 3, 2013

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