An attorney at Habush Habush & Rottier has obtained a $38.1 million verdict against Hyundai Motor Co. in a Racine County personal injury case.
The firm announced the attorney Tim Trecek‘s success in the 18-day trial involving a man left paralyzed from a car crash. In July 2015, Edward Vanderventer was rear-ended while driving a 2013 Hyundai Elantra. He suffered a spinal fracture and paraplegia as a result of the crash.
The case went to trial in Racine County in January. Jurors heard from more than 25 witnesses about the seat design and Vanderventer’s injuries, including Vanderventer himself, who testified from a hospital bed wheeled into the courtroom.
Trecek argued a defect within the front-seat headrest and seat back caused Vanderventer’s injuries. He said if the parts hadn’t been defective, Vanderventer would have walked away from the crash.
Hyundai’s attorneys blamed Vanderventer’s injuries on the crash and a degenerative spine condition, which they said made his spine inflexible and crack upon the crash impact. They said Hyundai’s seats had passed thousands of crash tests and met all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
“The exact same injury would have occurred no matter what car he had been driving,” a Hyundai spokesperson said in a statement. “(T)here is no seat available anywhere that would have prevented the injuries.”
The jury ultimately decided Hyundai’s seat design was defective and 84 percent responsible for Vanderventer’s injuries. On Wednesday, the jury announced a $38.1 million verdict against Hyundai.
“I could not be prouder of our Racine County jury,” Trecek said in a statement. “They listened intently to all the evidence presented over the course of the entire trial, using their life experience and common sense in order to render an extremely just verdict. This kind of verdict helps ensure that companies put safety before profits.”
Hyundai plans to appeal the verdict.
“It is an outrageous verdict, which we believe was not supported by the facts,” the Hyundai spokesperson said in a statement. Follow @“WLJreporter”