March 5, 2002 - Car Seat Suit Nets $10.5 Million
A Missouri family has won a $10.5 million award for injuries suffered by their 2-year-old son in a collision involving a drunken driver, Missouri Lawyers Weekly reported Tuesday.
The decision coincides with a new campaign announced by AAA promoting child restraint systems.
The Missouri verdict came in a suit against car seat manufacturer Cosco, claiming the car seat failed to provide any protection from a side-impact collision.
Benjamin Uxa of St. Louis suffered traumatic brain injury in a Sept. 27, 1999, accident in which his mother's car was broadsided by a drunken driver. The boy's head struck the inside of the car door.
The Uxas bought the boy's car seat for $40 at a local discount store. Cosco, now known as Dorel Inc., denied the seat was defective. The company argued the crash was so severe no seat could have prevented Benjamin's injuries.
Missouri Lawyers Weekly said the decision is believed the first against a car seat manufacturer in 15 years. Normally, companies try to settle these cases out of court, the legal publication said. The Uxas rejected a $1.95 million settlement order and the nine-day trial ended Friday.
Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission imposed a $1.75 million fine against Cosco for failing to report product defects.
AAA Tuesday said properly buckling children into child restraint systems could save more than 5,200 children ages 15 and younger in the next decade and initiated a campaign to educate parents and encourage auto manufacturers to take a more active role.
AAA said its analysis indicates 71 percent of infants, 54 percent of children ages 1 to 4 and 45 percent of children ages 5 to 15 could by saved from fatal injuries if child restraint systems were used properly. The campaign also encourages automakers to include child restraint systems in vehicles.
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