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Miriam Schimmel
Miriam Schimmel
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$11 Million Awarded in Defective Seatbelt Case

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Mitsubishi was found liabile this week for a defective seatbelt which caused the death of a 25 year old passenger in a Montero SUV.

Car manufacturer Mitsubishi was ordered by a West Palm Beach, Florida court to pay $11 million to a couple whose 25 year old son died in a crash when the Montero SUV he was riding in rolled over. Of that amount, $10 million was awarded for pain and suffering over the loss of the couple’s son. The victim, a passenger in the vehicle, was partially ejected backward through the rear of the vehicle during the impact, despite the fact that he was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident.

The plaintiffs argued that the seatbelt the victim was wearing was defective, and that Mitsubishi knew that there were problems with the seat belt, but still allowed the vehicle to remain on the market with the defective seatbelt uncorrected. Plaintiffs also showed the jury that Mitsubishi released a new version of the Montero mid-year in 2000, which corrected the subject flaws in the Montero models going forward thereafter, but that Mitsubishi never corrected the flaws in the earlier models.

The Defendant denied that the seatbelt was defective and argued that the mid-year model was released after the front structure had been redesigned. However, Mitsubishi was embroiled in scandal in 2000 when, after dozens of accidents were reported, the company hid other defects in its automobiles and secretly repaired them without issuing any formal recalls.

Automobile defects are often found to be the cause of death or injury in traffic accidents. If you or your family member has suffered catastrophic loss from a suspected defect in a vehicle, Kiesel, Boucher & Larson LLP can assist you in exploring your legal options.