Hawaii man awarded $16M in failed seatbelt case - Friday, December 23, 2005
Udac v. Takata Corp - A Big Island jury has awarded a 26-year-old Naalehu man more than $16 million in connection with a single-car accident in 2000. Dason Udac, who is now a paraplegic, alleged that Takata Corp. manufactured a defective seatbelt. On Oct. 8, 2000, Udac was found outside a 1987 Nissan Pathfinder that had flipped over at the 58-mile marker of Highway 11. Udac and his father sued Takata, alleging that the TK-821 seat belt buckle system was defective, negligently designed and the cause of Udac's injuries. According to Udac's attorney, the jury found Takata 65 percent negligent and Udac 35 percent negligent in its verdict Thursday. The jury awarded Udac $3.7 million for lost wages and medical bills and $2.5 million for pain and suffering. It imposed another $12.5 million in punitive damages against Takata. The jury also awarded $650,000 to Udac's father, 84-year-old Alfredo Udac, for emotional distress and the loss of care from his son. The compensatory damages will probably be reduced according to the percentage of negligence assessed to Takata - but the punative damages will probably not be subject to such a reduction. The resulting award will likely be in excess of $16 million.