February 15, 2019 — A woman who was paralyzed in a car accident when her Uber driver ran a red light has been awarded $37.6 million by a state court jury in Texas.
The jury ordered Honda to pay the bulk of the compensation, finding the auto-maker 63% responsible for her injuries due to a defective seatbelt design in the 2011 Honda Odyssey.
The lawsuit was filed by Sarah Milburn, a 27 year-old woman who ordered an Uber after a night out with friends in downtown Dallas. She got into the third-row middle seat of a Honda Odyssey driven by Arian Yusufzai.
Yusufzai was speeding when he ran a red light and was T-boned by a Ford F-150 pickup truck. Milburn was wearing a seatbelt, but it did not restrain her head. She hit the seat in front of her and suffered severe neck injuries that left her permanently paralyzed from the neck down.
The seatbelt in the Honda Odyssey complied with federal regulations, but lawyers claimed that it was defective and difficult to use.
The seatbelt was a 2-part system. Milburn had to connect a shoulder strap on the ceiling of the vehicle to the seat. Then she had to pull the belt across her hips and buckle it.
The jury found Milburn only 5% responsible for her injuries due to the seatbelt not being connected correctly. Yusufzai was found 32% responsible.
Neither the Ford F-150 truck driver nor Yusufzai were seriously injured in the car accident.
The lawsuit is In RE: Sarah Milburn v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc. — Case No. DC-16-16470 in the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County, Texas.
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