A 63-year-old woman, who was seriously injured in a 2006 car accident, has been awarded $2.19 million by a federal court jury. Rebecca Perdue filed her lawsuit against Nissan Motor Co., LTD, alleging that her 1995 Nissan Pathfinder failed to protect her during a 2006 collision. Mrs. Perdue’s husband and their daughter were also named as Plaintiffs in the lawsuit. A jury in U.S. District Court found that Nissan was responsible for the woman’s injuries.
In accordance with the jury’s verdict, the judge issued a final judgment, which states there was a design defect to the structure of the Pathfinder at the time it left the possession of Nissan. It was also stated that the defect was a “producing cause” of Mrs. Perdue’s injuries. The court also found there was no negligence by two others involved in the collision that caused or contributed to her injuries. Mrs. Perdue was traveling in the Pathfinder on a Tyler Street when her vehicle was struck by another vehicle. That vehicle had previously collided with yet another car. Mrs. Perdue was wearing her seatbelt at the time. It was contended that the Pathfinder was not reasonably crashworthy and was not reasonably fit for unintended, but clearly foreseeable, accidents.
The vehicle that struck Mrs. Perdue’s Pathfinder hit the left front corner of the vehicle, causing the left front tire to drive back through the firewall and destroy “the footwell, floorpan and toeboard survival space.” Mrs. Perdue suffered fractures to her right tibia, fibula and both ankles and incurred $130,000 in medical expenses. She will never walk normally again and experiences constant pain. Mrs. Perdue still has screws, plates and rods in her leg and ankles.
It was alleged that the design of the 1987-1995 Nissan Pathfinder was defective for not being able to protect the lower legs of a front seat occupant. It was also alleged that Nissan failed to conduct any crash testing or engineering analysis to evaluate the risks, hazards and dangers associated with the defect. The court found that Mrs. Perdue was entitled to damages of $1.5 million for past and future pain and mental anguish; $200,000 for past and future disfigurement; $150,000 for past and future physical impairment; and $197,000 in past medical expenses. The court also found that her husband was entitled to $150,000 for past and future loss of companionship and society. The Plaintiffs were represented by Todd Tracy, of Dallas, and Melissa Richards Smith, of Marshall, each of whom did a very good job for their clients.
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