Landmark cases

seatbelt

$51 MILLION FOR A QUADRIPLEGIC WHOSE SEATBELT MALFUNCTIONED

John won a $51 million jury verdict for a former U.S. Marine who was ejected from his car and instantly paralyzed when his seatbelt malfunctioned in a crash. Fred was driving home from the night shift at CSX, a railroad company, when another driver fell asleep at the wheel, ran a red light, and T-boned Fred’s General Motors truck.

Fred became a quadriplegic and required round-the-clock care, which took an emotional, physical, and financial toll on his wife and six children.

At the scene of the accident, the police marked Fred as “unbelted,” but he was sure that he had buckled himself in. John launched an investigation and discovered that GM seatbelts could unlatch if they were hit in a certain way.

John also tracked down an eyewitness who remembered seeing Fred’s seat belt hanging out of the window after the crash, which wouldn’t have been possible had the seatbelt been unbuckled.