In this case, an automotive design expert was brought in by the plaintiff to examine the safety of the pickup truck he was driving during a severe accident. The plaintiff was driving a 1993 pickup heavy duty truck when he was involved in a three-vehicle accident on a two-lane highway. The driver of another pickup was traveling in the opposite direction and crossed the center line, striking plaintiff’s vehicle. A car traveling behind plaintiff underrode the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle. According to black box data, all three vehicles were travelling 43 mph, below the 50 mph limit.
The crash forced plaintiff’s vehicle partially off the road and into a ditch, where it burst into flames. As a result of the crash, the engine compartment and dash intruded into the plaintiff’s lap, trapping him. He was freed by rescue workers a short time later and flown to the hospital. He suffered multiple traumatic injuries, including numerous fractures, and burns over 40 percent of his body, including his face and head. His lower leg and forearm were amputated, and he underwent numerous surgeries.
He alleges that he survived the head-on crash but that the truck’s unsafe design led to him being trapped and the fuel-fed fire that caused his horrific injuries. He seeks more than $10 million in medical expenses and $8 million in economic damages.