Seat belt made with a “rip-stitch” design, in which the belt rips apart to, in theory, better manage the forces in a crash
Philadelphia—A unanimous jury in Philadelphia has found in favor of a man left quadriplegic when the seat belt in his Mitsubishi 3000 GT failed to protect him during a 2017 accident and awarded almost $977 million.
The verdict on behalf of Francis Amagasu, 58, includes $176 million in compensatory damages and an additional $800 million in punitive damages. Attorneys in the case say the verdict is among the largest in Pennsylvania involving an automotive defect this year.
The accident happened in November 2017. As Amagasu attempted to maneuver around another vehicle, his car rolled over. Though he was wearing a seat belt, it was one made with a so-called “rip-stitch” design, in which the belt rips apart to, in theory, better manage the forces in a crash.
“But that design doesn’t work,” said attorney Kyle Farrar. “What happens is the seat belt intentionally tears apart and becomes four inches longer, making it easier for the person to move around and that’s what happened to Mr. Amagasu. His head was forced into the car’s roof, and he broke his neck.”