In 1991, Alex Hardy, 37, was driving through a 1987 Chevrolet Blazer White Hall, Alabama Blazer was damaged when the rear axle, the wheel right to free assembly and sent the vehicle into a roll. When the door opened, Hardy was thrown 30-40 feet in the air and suffered serious injuries that made him permanently paralyzed.
Lawyers who represent Hardy filed a lawsuit against General Motors. They alleged that the defective door latch Blazer's injury contributed to Hardy, and that the Blazers GM intentionally sold with defective door latches that opened in an accident like that is owned by Hardy.
GM denied the accusations, arguing that Hardy should be blamed because she had been drinking and fell asleep when his Blazer rolled over. Witnesses to testify that GM Hardy flew through the window because he was not wearing a seat belt.
GM asserted that "their Type 3" bolt the door of a safe and meets federal safety standards. They further stated that the level of side-door ejections from vehicles involved in fatal accidents was 0.77 per 100 inhabitants. Finally, GM's experts testified that the door latch Hardy was only slightly damaged, shows that it does not come open during the accident as he believes.
"Once again, a giant car trying to avoid the facts to obscure the issue," said the lawyer, a nationally recognized auto defects, John Bisnar. "Internal documents-including GM's 1982 study estimated that such hooks could fail about 18,000 times a year-damaged properties underscores GM's third type of door latch This latch has been installed in about 40 million GM vehicles starting in 1978.
A version featuring dishes support only installed on some 1987 models Unfortunately, GM chose not to spend around 916 million U.S. dollars needed to replace all latches .. It chose instead to issue a 'quiet mind' where the dealer was ordered to replace the bolt without notifying their customers. Unfortunately, there were still about 30 million vehicles on the road which is equipped with a hook. "
An Alabama jury awarded $ 50 million in compensation to Mr. Hardy and his family and $ 100 million compensation to the producers for what the jury determined was "guilty knowledge of GM's" of the handicapped slot. This is one of the largest verdict against GM.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation into what GM knew about the defect clearly on the door latch. A former administrator of the Federal agents say often took aggressive civil litigation like the Hardy's to dig up evidence and documents that otherwise hidden from federal regulators.
"This decision reveals the fact that GM has known for at least 14 years reprehensible that the U.S. would be hurt and killed by a poorly designed door latch, the part that has failed in the accident after the accident," said Brian Chase from a national auto defect law firm Bisnar recognized Chase. "Actions Mr Hardy in taking GM to court is an example of our justice system at work the jury award for GM-American messages in this case, big enough message that their failure to act was not accepted .. Hopefully, this lawsuit will help convince car makers to respond effectively to safety defects known to prevent further injury to its customers. "