Defective Seatbelt Victim Awarded $32.5 Million


Three trials and over ten years later, a California man who suffered severe brain injuries when his seatbelt failed in a car accident, was awarded an astonishing $32.5 million; Ford Motor Company and Mazda Motor Corporation were found negligent for failing to warn consumers about the 1993 Ford Escort seatbelt defect.

One of the lawyer’s for the victim explained the specific seatbelt defect as the shoulder belt not locking up to prevent the victim’s head from being thrown forward. The lawsuit claimed the defective shoulder belt lacked a web grabber to prevent it from slacking. This defect allowed the victim’s body to move forward on impact. Prior to this particular crash, Ford had received 45 complaints about the belt not locking up in crashes, and Ford did nothing to warn consumers.

Ford has denied fault and is appealing the verdict. A Ford spokesperson asserted that the seatbelt “did all it could to protect…from such a violent impact.”

Although the 38-year-old victim in this case survived, he had to have surgery to remove twenty percent of his brain and will need long-term care for the rest of his life.

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