Lawyers in our firm are preparing a very important case for trial in Benton County, Arkansas. We represent the parents of a 17-year-old girl who was killed in a tragic car wreck on her way home from an after-school activity. She was driving a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee along an interstate in Benton County when another driver merged onto the interstate and cut her off. When the other driver (who was speeding as he entered the interstate) struck our client’s Grand Cherokee, both vehicles rotated into a grass median and across into oncoming traffic. Although the other driver’s car spun and came to a stop without injuring the driver, the Grand Cherokee rolled over several times. Our client’s daughter was wearing her seatbelt, but was ejected from the Jeep and died when she struck the pavement.
We filed suit against the at-fault driver and his employer (a local real estate company) based on his reckless conduct, and also against Chrysler and Key Safety Systems for the defective design of the seatbelt buckle installed in the Grand Cherokee. The primary complaint with the seatbelt buckle is that it is capable of unlatching in a rollover accident as a result of inertial forces. After removing buckles from several vehicles in salvage yards, we discovered that there are two versions of the buckle installed in the Grand Cherokee: one like the one in our vehicle, and another that includes a device to prevent inertial unlatching.
Although Chrysler and Key Safety claim the design worn by our client’s daughter is safe, we look forward to presenting evidence to a Benton County jury in October that a safer alternative design existed that would have prevented this tragedy. This case is being handled and will be tried by Mike Andrews from our firm, along with Sean T. Keith and Anna Betts, who are with Keith, Miller, Butler, Schneider & Pauline, based in Rogers, Arkansas.
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