Acura Integra Seatbelt Lawsuit Results in $55M Verdict Against Honda

Honda Motor Co. was hit with a $55 million verdict last week, in a product liability lawsuit brought over seatbelt problems in a 1999 Acura Integra.

The complaint was brought by Carlos Martinez, who suffered severe injuries in an auto accident that left him a quadriplegic.

According to allegations raised in the lawsuit, a defect in the design of the Acura Integra seatbelts allowed Martinez’s head to hit the top of the car when it rolled over in the accident, leaving him with severe brain damage.

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Honda allegedly knew about the potential risk of seatbelt problems with the vehicles, yet failed to take appropriate actions to correct the issue.

Following trial before a Philadelphia jury that ended last week, Martinez was awarded $55 million in damages, including $25 million for noneconomic damages, $14.6 million for pain and suffering, $720,000 for lost future earnings, and $15 million for his wife’s loss of consortium. The verdict is believed to be the largest for an auto defect lawsuit in the state’s history.

Honda defeated a similar claim in February, when a Louisiana jury sided with the auto maker and ruled that the design of the seatbelt system in the 1995 Honda Accord was not defective. That wrongful death lawsuit was brought on behalf of Paul Day Allred, Jr., who suffered fatal head injuries in an accident while driving one of the vehicles.

While the lawsuit claimed that the injury occurred because Allred’s head hit the roof of the vehicle, that jury found that Allred’s death was caused by the driver of the other vehicle that hit his car.

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