In February in this space we highlighted a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court which allowed a lawsuit to proceed against an automobile manufacturer for a negligent or defective design of a rear seat belt. That case arose after a tragic accident in which the passenger in the center rear seat was killed. Now the parents of a child killed while wearing a lap belt in the rear seat of a Volkswagen have brought a similar lawsuit against that manufacturer.
The parents of the child killed in the Volkswagen had already brought a suit against a driver who fled the scene of the accident. The driver that was charged with causing the accident had been sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident at which people were injured; she had also attempted to cover up her involvement in the accident by repairing and repainting her BMW in an attempt to cover up her actions.
The parents of the deceased child allege that Volkswagen produced a rear seat restraint that was unreasonably dangerous. They argue that safer alternative designs were available and technologically feasible at the time the Beetle was manufactured and that using the design would have significantly reduced the risk that this child would have been killed in this accident.
The accident occurred when the BMW struck a second vehicle sending that second vehicle spinning out of control in the opposing lane of oncoming traffic. The second car then struck the Volkswagen. The accident also resulted in the deaths of four individuals in the second car.
Source: Westlaw News & Insight “Suit filed against VW over crash that killed five and sent two women to prison” April 11, 2011