Auto Product Liability Lawsuit Filed Over Seat Failure in Chevy Tahoe

An automobile product liability lawsuit has been filed against General Motors Corporation by a California woman who suffered severe head injuries when the seat of a Chevrolet Tahoe collapsed during a rear-end accident.

The Chevy Tahoe lawsuit was filed by Wendy Leigh Yates in┬áStanislaus County’s California Superior Court in late January, against General Motors and Sexton Chevrolet of Manteca, California. The complaint alleges that the 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe was defectively designed and manufactured, allowing the passenger seat to collapse during an October 2007 crash.

According to the complaint, Wendy Leigh Yates was a passenger in a Chevy Tahoe being driven by her daughter, Brittany Yates, when it was rear-ended by another vehicle on October 18, 2007. As a result of the impact, the passenger seat where Wendy Leigh Yates was sitting broke and collapsed backward, causing Yates to slide out of her shoulder restraint and hit her head on the rear passenger compartment. She suffered multiple skull fractures, resulting in permanent injuries and seizures.

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A traumatic brain injury is one of the leading causes of death and permanent disability world wide, with 1.4 million people suffering head trauma injuries each year. Automobile accidents are a leading cause of head trauma, accounting for approximately 20% of all traumatic brain injuries. Victims often requiring extensive medical treatment and permanent around-the-clock care.

The product liability lawsuit alleges that GM knowingly sold a defective vehicle to consumers and failed to warn them of the safety risks. The lawsuit claims GM knew, or should have known, that the vehicle’s safety features would fail in relatively low impact accidents, resulting in the risk of severe injury to occupants. The litigation claims that GM’s own test footage shows that the seats can fail and cause the occupant to fall back, striking their head. The suit also alleges that GM’s own testing shows that the seat belt would not properly hold the passenger in place when the seat failed.

The claim seeks an unspecified amount for economic damages, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering for Yates and her daughter. It also seeks compensation for her husband, Gavin Yates, on the grounds of loss of consortium.

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