Do you think it’s safe to recline in your passenger seat as long as you have your seat belt on? Think again. From CBS News the story of one reclining passenger:
Tami Martin has spent the last six years in a wheelchair after her spine was damaged in a car crash. As CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, the problem was not the seat belt – she was wearing one – but how she was sitting, fully reclined in the passenger seat of her mom’s van.
Martin’s mother drove a minivan into a low-impact collision at less than 30 miles an hour. She wasn’t hurt but Tami, reclined on the passenger side, seat belt latched, was crippled.
Angelo Patacca, Martin’s lawyer, sued Ford, charging the automaker knew about the danger since 1984, but failed to warn consumers. Ford maintained no warning was necessary because that danger was commonly known.
The jury awarded Martin almost $17 million.
Then she made Ford a startling offer: She would return half her legal judgment if the carmaker would put a safety sticker in all its vehicles, warning passengers never to recline seats while the car’s in motion.
Instead, Ford appealed the verdict.