Huge personal injury award to woman paralyzed in vehicular accident

I’m a little late in posting this story from, dated June 10, but it won’t go away.

A woman driving a Chrysler was hit from behind by another car when she stopped at a light. The driver of the car that hit her confessed she had fallen asleep at the wheel.

The plaintiff was paralyzed because the car seat she sat in collapsed upon the impact.

It’s a case well worth reading for anyone who files a personal injury lawsuit because:

  • The award was huge — $43 million, the largest in Vermont’s history.
  • It was huge because the plaintiff sued not the driver of the car behind her but the manufacturer of the car seat, Johnson Controls. That is, in the cold language of personal injury lawyers, a defendant with deep pockets.
  • Johnson Controls tried to blame the Chrysler but the plaintiff’s lawyers argued, obviously successfully, that the car worked just as it was supposed to; it was the seat that didn’t work.
  • The plaintiff’s personal story was and is quite moving. So the jury must have had great sympathy for her.
  • I’m guessing that Johnson Controls will file an appeal of the verdict and the appeal will take time. And I’m also guessing that the appellate court will reduce the award.

Lawyers for the plaintiff were Brett Emison and Robert Langdon.


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