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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Nissan just settled a $1.5 million wrongful death lawsuit over a late model Versa involved in a deadly accident that didn’t come equipped with side-curtain airbags in the vehicle. The Versa was hit by another vehicle piloted by a DUI driver, causing the Versa to roll over and eject its driver. No mention was made of seat belt use.

Side curtain airbags weren’t required in the specific year model vehicle, and there were no claims (at least, none cited in the article),

If this article is accurate, and the judgment stands, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict where this is going for the future of the automobile market in the US...

 

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Obviously, legal intimidation and stupid "big spin" jury verdicts add up to leverage and big money for lawyers, regardless of the legitimacy of the case.
It's a cost/benefit equation... It costs the consumer and benefits the attorneys.
I would have liked to have been on the jury if it went to trial and awarded the plaintiff $0.01.
A $500,000 countersuit for legal fees to Nissan would have been a better verdict.

How are side curtain air bags are supposed to keep an occupant from being thrown out of a vehicle when that occupant isn't likely wearing a seat belt...

Attorney for the plaintiff:
"Had the vehicle been equipped with an ejection seat and parachute, the poor victim (idiot) who didn't put on a seatbelt because it would have wrinkled her taffeta dress, could have been safely removed from the accident, thrown into the air and saved by the parachute... if only she had been wearing a seatbelt that would have kept her in the seat attached to it.. Cars should never be allowed to start without seatbelts secured and operational ejection seats. This is a vital issue for the public, and we need a big award to send a message to manufacturers that they need to step up and make cars safe for the public by installing common sense safety features....

End result :The 2025 Nissan Versa with all required safety features, now on sale for a mere $750,000.00.

Next up - Hammer manufacturer hit with $10 million lawsuit in wrongful death because there was no warning label that the hammer should not be used to hit yourself in the head, despite this activity being portrayed as benign on many Three Stooge's episodes....

Who was the Roman who's idea on making society better was to "kill all the lawyers"....
He might have had a point back then.

Probably a better idea for today would be to allow defendants to sue for legal fees.
There would be a lot fewer BS cases like this one.
 

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This has, National Lampoon's Favorite Deadly Sins "Greed" written all over it. Who ever has seen it, knows what I'm talking about.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The issue I take with this case is a simple one. I read the complaint, but found no mention of seatbelt usage... perhaps I missed it.

There’s no mention of seatbelt use, yet there appears to be no acknowledgement that a vehicle’s occupants should be required to utilize every reasonable safety feature for self protection. In addition, there’s always an assumed risk when anyone gets in a vehicle.

Now, if seat belts WERE in use, that’s a factor that could easily change my opinion.

As it stands, there’s definitely a bad guy here, but it isn’t Nissan... it’s the drunk driver. But, of course, there’s probably no money going down that route.

It’s always a tragedy when a death occurs, and I’m not attempting to blame the victim in any way... but I’ve never seen any set of safety systems cover every single possibility, regardless of the money spent.

There’s a risk to everything... even driving down the highway in an Abrams tank.

I can see it now... some driver backs over his kid while posting his breakfast picture on Facebook, then sues the vehicle manufacturer because the vehicle didn’t stop itself. Or, leaves his kids in the car on a hot summer day because he’s texting while parking, then sues the manufacturer because it allowed him to leave the car without forcing him to remove the kids.

I guess it’s the world we live in these days
 

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South Carolina actually has a law prohibiting evidence of non-use of seatbelts from being introduced in liability cases. The idea, I gather, is that even if the plaintiff's negligence in obeying a seat belt law did contribute to the injury, that it was the defendant's action (for which they are being sued) that caused it. Exactly how (or if) that exclusion was applied in this case is unclear.
 

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Interesting.. So in South Carolina anyone in business is responsible for the idiot actions of their customers...
Well, if there was any logic (and clearly there was none applied in this case) to explain how a seatbelt did not keep an occupant in the vehicle (slim to none chances on that) but side curtain air bags would have, I would love to see that plethora of evidence... of something that didn't happen.
Maybe that same search would also reveal how side curtain air bags could prevent a head injury to a driver that was thrown from the vehicle...
Bottom line:
Car did not have ejection seat - Manufacturer to blame...

I'm betting this complete BS lawsuit gets appealed and thrown out of court.
Grandma will have to set up another grandkid to cash in.
Since the case was seeking excessive damages, Nissan has good reason to fight the case.
The plaintiff deserves nothing.

But, if the verdict stands, there is no reason to get a life insurance policy. When you have a terminal illness, drive to South Carolina, rent a car, drink a liter of moonshine, take off your seatbelt and run into concrete column going as fast as possible. Your heirs will be entitled to a huge cash award for the car failing to save you.

Sadly, rampant abuse of the court system isn't new.
I worked for the LA Superior Court for quite a few years in the 70's and we published a monthly jury award case list.
My favorite:
Woman successfully sued for $5MM against MRI manufacturer, because after the MRI screen attempting to find the reason for her nearly constant migraines, she lost her ability to psychically communicate with her mother...
And people wonder why medical procedures are expensive...
Part of it is that a doctor must make sure you don't have a brain tumor when you are having a hangnail removed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The net effect in this case was this:

An attractive teenage girl, with a life full of possibilities didn’t take the time out of her “busy” schedule ... 5 seconds, at best... to utilize the most basic safety system in her vehicle, and now she’s gone forever. If you compiled the total amount of time spent in a lifetime taken to latch/unlatch seatbelts, it still wouldn’t have been a blip on the radar of a normal lifespan.

As a 40 year resident of SC, I wasn’t aware that lack of seatbelt usage could be exempt from legal review in liability cases, if that is indeed true (knowing SC, it’s extremely possible).

If we really want to get serious about seat belt usage in this country, let’s fix it where lack of seatbelt compliance has a substantial effect on liability settlements. No one should be able to profit by knowingly breaking the law (seatbelt usage in mandatory in SC) and yet being able to cash in on that act.
 

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South Carolina actually has a law prohibiting evidence of non-use of seatbelts from being introduced in liability cases. The idea, I gather, is that even if the plaintiff's negligence in obeying a seat belt law did contribute to the injury, that it was the defendant's action (for which they are being sued) that caused it. Exactly how (or if) that exclusion was applied in this case is unclear.

Attached is recent recap on the "seat belt defense" in all 50 States:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yep... you don’t have to do one blessed thing in order to protect yourself, but you can sue (and collect) from others that don’t protect you in the manner you feel entitled to being protected.

Like I’ve said in the past, welcome to the new USA, the country in which, if something bad happens to you, it’s never your fault, it’s always someone else’s fault, and some amount of money will always make everything OK.


Making breakfast while you’re bathing in the tub and the toaster falls into your bath and electrocutes you? Not Your fault...

Remove the blade guard on your circular saw, let your 3 year old play with it and cut his fingers off? Not Your fault...

Leave your newborn in the back seat on a hot August day and he expires? Not Your fault...

Go figure...
 

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What was that movie... Koyaanisqatsi - The title is a Hopi Indian word that means "crazy life", "life out of balance", "life that needs to change", which pretty well describes the situation.
The implied meaning includes the certain possibility that the out of balance situation will not continue indefinitely.
At some point, the tipping point, those subjected to an untenable situation will no longer allow it to continue, or the situation/system will fall apart on its own. We are likely pretty close to either or both.
 

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Interesting.. So in South Carolina anyone in business is responsible for the idiot actions of their customers...
Well, if there was any logic (and clearly there was none applied in this case) to explain how a seatbelt did not keep an occupant in the vehicle (slim to none chances on that) but side curtain air bags would have, I would love to see that plethora of evidence... of something that didn't happen.
Maybe that same search would also reveal how side curtain air bags could prevent a head injury to a driver that was thrown from the vehicle...
Bottom line:
Car did not have ejection seat - Manufacturer to blame...

I'm betting this complete BS lawsuit gets appealed and thrown out of court.
Grandma will have to set up another grandkid to cash in.
Since the case was seeking excessive damages, Nissan has good reason to fight the case.
The plaintiff deserves nothing.

But, if the verdict stands, there is no reason to get a life insurance policy. When you have a terminal illness, drive to South Carolina, rent a car, drink a liter of moonshine, take off your seatbelt and run into concrete column going as fast as possible. Your heirs will be entitled to a huge cash award for the car failing to save you.

Sadly, rampant abuse of the court system isn't new.
I worked for the LA Superior Court for quite a few years in the 70's and we published a monthly jury award case list.
My favorite:
Woman successfully sued for $5MM against MRI manufacturer, because after the MRI screen attempting to find the reason for her nearly constant migraines, she lost her ability to psychically communicate with her mother...
And people wonder why medical procedures are expensive...
Part of it is that a doctor must make sure you don't have a brain tumor when you are having a hangnail removed.
Based on what the OP wrote, there is no verdict to appeal. Nissan settled the case before it went to court.
 

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You are correct @PGH423... Somehow I missed that.. This is even worse than I thought.
Nissan should have fought it as the case was total BS, and the implication now is, anyone, anywhere that is hurt in a car accident can sue because the car did not prevent their injuries... At least in SC.

Drunk driver?
The car should have detected alcohol on his breath. Not his fault.. Clearly a manufacturer defect.
Suicidal driver?
Failure to install abnormal brain wave detection system and facial recognition emotion/state of mind sensors would clearly be the problem.
In both cases, the severe and callous disregard for the public allows both the heirs of the driver and the occupants of the other vehicle who were killed to recover millions in damages.
Ridiculous examples?
Not compared to the case settled, as it is as easily, if not more ridiculous.
To wit:
Driver doesn't wear seatbelt and the lack of a rollover sensor prevented deployment of side curtain airbags that did not prevent the driver from being thrown from the vehicle, even though side airbags are not intended to do that.

I'm sure Nissan decided to feed the sharks and run, perhaps avoiding on a trial where a brain dead jury awards an obscene amount of money 'cause it's the big spin. And people wonder why companies go out of business and/or prices for goods and services rise obscenely...

Sadly, any award from the case would likely have been dismissed on appeal if reviewed by anyone who was actually conscious, but the company would have had to spend A LOT of money to keep their own sharks fed.

IMHO - The legal system has become legitimized extortion.
 
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