Defective Auto Glass Trumps DWI in Injury Liability Apportionment
Can a drunk driver win an auto defect-based personal injury lawsuit?
Sometimes a design defect in a vehicle will result in an auto recall. Other times, a design defect in a vehicle will be blamed for a serious personal injury or death of the vehicle owner after an accident involving that vehicle.
Such was the case in a personal injury lawsuit based on an alleged Ford auto defect in a 1999 Ford Explorer. Reportedly, the owner of the Explorer rolled the car over resulting in his left arm being severed.
The basis of the owner’s claim was that “he lost his arm because the window glass was tempered and not laminated” and that “laminated glass has plastic layers to keep broken pieces intact”.
It should be noted that the man was reportedly driving drunk at the time of the accident.
The jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff notwithstanding the fact that “he tested twice the legal limit of intoxication after the crash”. Ford argued that his “failure to exercise ordinary care, caution and prudence to avoid the incident and injuries at issue” constituted negligence on his part.
The jury did hold somewhat against the vehicle owner in assessing percentages of liability—not for drunk driving—but for the owner’s reported failure to “keep up with the maintenance on the SUV” which had more than 300,000 miles on it. The jury ruled him 10% liable for the crash and Ford liable for the remaining 90%. Plaintiff was awarded “$3.3 million for past damages $1.5 million for future damages”.
If you have a question about an auto recall, or feel you may be driving a “lemon” because your relatively new car is constantly in the shop for the same stubborn repair, the Law Offices of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. Depending on the nature of your problem, you may be entitled to a full refund of your down payment, trade-in, monthly payments and taxes, or a brand-new car or a cash settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.