Notable Verdicts & Settlements in Product Liability Cases
Improperly Programmed Medical Stimulator Results in Settlement
Shaffer & Gaier was able to secure a sizeable settlement for our client whose neuro-stimulator was not properly programmed. Due to the programming error, Plaintiff endured years of pain and suffering which would not have occurred if the stimulator had been programmed properly.
In June of 1993, our client was struck in the head by a tractor trailer door. He suffered serious head and neck injuries. In 1993 he had ongoing pain and was eventually implanted with a neuro stimulator in 1996. The stimulator functioned satisfactorily but it was replaced in August 2001. After the second replacement, Plaintiff had little relief from the new stimulator. He had severe limitations and was rendered totally disabled.
Over a period of 10 years the stimulator was programmed by a salesman. Unfortunately, the salesman had little or no medical training. The salesman did not have the expertise to properly program the devise and as a result Plaintiff lost total function of his right arm. Plaintiff eventually saw a new programmer who was able to program the neuro stimulator correctly. Our client had no idea that the original programmer had failed to program the stimulator correctly because the Defendant simply told him that this was ” as good as he was going to get.”
Shaffer & Gaier brought suit alleging that for 10 years the stimulator was not properly functioning due to a programmer error. Through discovery, we were able to establish that the salesmen did not have any medical training and he was in essence practicing medicine without the proper credentials. As the case was about to go to trail, the parties were able to settle the case for a sizeable but confidential settlement amount.
$1 Million settlement for Defective Airbag
We represented a woman who was injured when her air-bag deployed in a very low speed crash. Due to the negligent design of the vehicle, when the airbag was deployed it struck Plaintiff’s head causing her neck to be broken leading to her death.
Our client was 60 years old at the time and was involved in a one car accident in an empty parking lot. At the time of the accident the car was traveling less than 20 m.p.h. She was a very slight woman weighing less than 110 lbs and was approximately 5′ 2″. Due to the negligent design of the vehicle, the air bag struck the Plaintiff as it was being deployed killing her instantly. Our discovery revealed that the automobile manufacture did no testing to determine if it was safe for drivers who were short. Shaffer & Gaier hired several experts to establish that the air bag was unsafe as it was designed.
Broken Seatbelt Causes Head Injury – Confidential Settlement
We represented a 21 year old man who was severely injured when he tried to use his seatbelt but it would not work. Our client was a passenger in a small sport utility vehicle. The driver of the vehicle failed to negotiate a curve on a dirt road and the car crashed into a tree. Plaintiff had attempted to use his seatbelt when he first got into the car but due to a malfunction, he could not pull it out. All of the other persons in the vehicle were belted and walked away virtually without a scratch. Since our client was not able to use his seatbelt, he was thrown forward striking his head sustaining a very serious closed head injury. Shaffer and Gaier retained a team of 7 experts to establish that the seatbelt malfunctioned causing Plaintiff’s severe head injury.
Exploding Spray Can Yields $1M Settlement
Matt P. was working at a concrete manufacturing plant. Matt’s responsibilities included inspecting the concrete moulds for cracks and defects. Once he noticed a crack or defect, he was instructed by his employer to mark the broken sections with spray paint.
On February 17, 2009, Matt took a brand new can of spray paint out to the job site to begin his day. As directed by the instructions, he shook the spray paint can to mix the paint and raise the pressure. While he was shaking the spray paint can, the bottom of the can separated from the can creating a missile like object that struck Matt in the face. The sheer force caused him to fracture his eye socket and lose the sight in his left eye.
Shaffer & Gaier brought a product liability action against the manufacturer of the spray paint can as well as the seller of the spray paint can. Our experts showed that the can was not properly tested during the manufacturing process and this over-pressurized can was allowed to make it to market. We had secured two experts to testify that over-pressurized cans, if not properly tested, can explode. In fact, extensive discovery revealed that the Defendants had a history of exploding cans because several of them had exploded after people shook the cans just like Matt did on the date in question.
In addition to securing product liability experts, our firm also secured experts to testify regarding the damages of Matt which were extensive. After extensive discovery, settlement negotiations were able to yield a result of a settlement of $1M.
Confidential Settlement in Trucking Accident
We represented a driver of an 18 wheel tractor trailer that tipped when the cargo inside of the trailer shifted. When the tractor tipped, the cab with the driver inside literally disintegrated when it struck the guard rail. Shaffer & Gaier hired a team of experts to establish that the cab was not designed to withstand a roll over although this was such a common occurrence for tractor trailer drivers. Our team of experts was able to establish that the cab was crafted of mere fiberglass and provided virtually no protection for drivers such as our Plaintiff.
Landscaping Equipment Defect Causes Hand to Be Crushed
We represented a 20 year old woman whose hand was crushed due a defective log splitter. Our client took a landscaping job to assist her with her college tuition bills. On of the first days of her new job she was instructed on how to use a log splitter for her employer. Due to a defective switch in the log splitter, the machine was inadvertently activated crushing the Plaintiff’s hand. The case was filed in Federal Court in Philadelphia and after an extensive mediation with a Federal Magistrate Judge; the case was settled for a satisfactory confidential amount.