Jury: Multiple parties at fault in catastrophic accident

Injuries suffered in a car accident can be devastating. Some victims suffer broken bones and serious lacerations while others are paralyzed or killed in motor vehicle accidents. No matter how minor or severe the injuries are, the fact is that the party or parties responsible for the crash should be held accountable for damages.

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand who may be to blame for an accident. Crashes are not always as straightforward as, for example, a single driver running a traffic light or a driver drunk driver crashing into a pedestrian. For example, a California jury recently found three parties to be at fault in a 2010 accident.

According to reports, the accident occurred when an 18-year-old drunk driver crashed into a tree. A passenger in the back, middle seat was paralyzed and nearly decapitated in the collision.

On the surface, people would expect that the driver would be completely responsible for the devastating injuries caused in the accident. But in this case, the driver was found to be just 5 percent responsible and the victim was found to also be 5 percent responsible for getting in a car with a drunk driver.

However, the manufacturer of the driver's vehicle, Toyota Motor Corp., was found to have the majority of blame in the accident. Sources state that the car maker had installed inadequate safety belts in the back seat of the car involved in the crash. The seat belt was the kind that only went over a passenger's lap, not the shoulders.

Because of the inadequacies in the seat belt, the jury determined that Toyota should be responsible for paying $12.5 million to the victim, which is intended to cover a bulk of her medical bills as well as the pain and suffering she and her family has experienced as a result of the accident.

When someone is seriously injured or killed in a California car accident, it can be crucial to pursue compensation from all appropriate parties. Liability is not always clear, and victims and their families have the right to file a legal claim in order to investigate the cause of an accident and hold the responsible party or parties accountable for the terrible injuries suffered as a result of negligence or unsafe behaviors.

Source: Automotive News, "Toyota ordered to pay $12.5 million to woman 'virtually decapitated' by seat belt," Hannah Lutz, Oct. 21, 2014

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