Automotive design expert witness advises on a case involving a man who was severely injured after being ejected from a vehicle while riding with his seat reclined. Plaintiff was a front seat passenger on a long trip. He decided to have a nap and reclined his seat. The driver lost control of the vehicle, and it rolled over. The plaintiff, although buckled in, was thrown out the passenger window during the rollover. He suffered severe orthopedic, internal and brain injuries.
He alleges the vehicle manufacturer knew about the risk posed by the reclining seat but did not alter its design or warn occupants of the danger. He filed claims for design defect, manufacturing defect and failure to warn. He asserts that seat’s ability to recline beyond 45 degrees rendered the seatbelt system useless. The seat also violates the principles of crashworthiness, he argues.