A woman who was paralyzed in a car accident has received a $20 million personal injury verdict in Roanoke, Virginia. The 35-year-old woman’s body is paralyzed from the chest down as the result of a 2006 car accident that caused the woman’s sports car to flip over.
The crash developed into a product liability suit against Mazda. The female victim testified at trial that the accident happened while she was driving her Mazda Miata and swerved to avoid striking a plastic swimming pool in the roadway. The inflatable pool had fallen from a pickup truck driving in front of her. The truck and its driver were never identified.
The pool, which was mostly inflated when it went airborne, caused the woman to take evasive action and she ultimately veered off the roadway. That is when her car flipped over and the windshield collapsed when it came to a stop on its roof. The canvas rooftop had been closed at the time of the crash. Also, the woman was not found to be driving recklessly or speeding at the time of the collision.
The woman’s personal injury counsel was able to successfully argue in Roanoke court that the windshield collapse was the result of Mazda’s unreasonably dangerous design and manufacture of the car. The windshield was shown to have collapsed because a special latch system failed to keep it in place. The woman’s $20 million personal injury award is believed to be the largest damage award in Roanoke history, or at least the largest in recent history. However, she was also awarded interest, so if the ruling makes it through post-trial appeals by the defendant, the woman could receive approximately $30 million in total.
Source: roanoke.com, “Roanoke jury awards $20 million in sports car accident” Nov. 20, 2014