GM will pay a 33-year-old man who was rendered tetraplegic when the 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 he occupied crashed. The crash occurred when the pickup slid off an interstate after hitting a patch of black ice. It then proceeded down an embankment, overturned and landed on its roof. The pickup after being righted at the accident scene is shown below. Witnesses found the man still belted in the overturned vehicle, his neck pushed down onto his chest by the severely crushed cab roof. He was barely able to breathe or speak, and bystanders were able to get him out of the wreckage and lay him down to await EMS and transport to the hospital.
In the lawsuit filed by Ammons for the injured man, it was alleged that the pickup’s roof was not capable of maintaining its integrity in a rollover and that the seat belts do not provide proper, adequate and continuous movement-limiting restraint benefits to occupants in such crashes. Ammons contended that using closed header sections, thicker sheet metal or foam-filled pillars would have resulted in a roof structure strong enough to withstand a rollover without compromising the vehicle’s safety cell and would only have cost GM some $11 per vehicle. This pickup’s inadequacies rendered it defective and uncrashworthy and directly caused the man’s spinal cord injury that paralyzed him. Specifically, as the roof was deforming downward, it impacted the man’s head, buckling his spine, breaking his neck and severing his spinal cord.
Charges for medical treatment of the man’s life-altering injuries exceeded $600,000, and the costs of necessary future medical and life care were estimated by a medical doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation to total nearly $9 Million.
The Ammons Law Firm has a nationwide personal injury practice focusing on tire defects, truck accidents, rollovers, consumer protection and product liability, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, post-collision fires, seat belt defects, airbag defects, and plant explosions.
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