A Florida jury has ordered Mitsubishi Motors to pay almost $11 million in wrongful death damages to the parents of a man who died when he was partially ejected from a Nativa SUV—marketed in the US as the Montero.
Peter and Donna Laliberte had accused the auto manufacturer of knowing that there were problems with the seat recliner and the seat belt in the SUV and selling the motor vehicles despite this information. Because of these product defects, the Lalibertes contend that Scott,25, ended up being partially ejected from the back window of the 2000 Nativa when the SUV rolled over in September 2004. They had asked the jury to award them over $25 million.
Scott’s head was crushed against the SUV and the ground after he smashed into the rear window.
The almost $11 million award is compensatory damages for the loss of the Lalibertes’ son. $10 million is for pain and suffering and the rest of the amount is to cover funeral expenses and other costs.
Part of the case made against Mitsubishi was that auto maker tried to correct the design flaws on the 2000 model by bring out a revised model halfway through the model year without letting anyone know that there had been problems with the original version.
Mitsubishi, however, argued that the redesigned model did not address flaws with the seat or seat belt and instead fixed issues with the SUV’s front structure, which did not perform well during accident tests.
Mitsubishi has been working hard to rebuild its reputation after the public found out that the auto giant had tried to cover up auto defects by fixing them without issuing recalls even though many accidents had occurred.
Our Maryland and Washington D.C. law firm represent injury and wrongful death clients in SUV accident claims and lawsuits involving negligent drivers and/or defective auto parts.
Seat belt defects include:
• Problems with the seat belt latch
• Problems with the seat belt retractor
• Defects with the seat belt geometry
• Defective seat belt webbing
Mitsubishi must pay $11 million to family of man ejected from SUV, Palm Beach Post, February 26, 2008
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