Pursell v VW

This case arises out of a collision that occurred on May 28, 2004.  At about 11:00 p.m., as Chelsea Pursell and her high school friends were leaving the Mayfair Festival located at Cedar Beach in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Chelsea and her three friends got into Kristofer Young's 1992 Volkswagen Jetta for the drive home.  Chelsea was seated in the rear center position, wearing the available lap seat belt.
 
During the drive home, Defendant Young lost control of the Jetta on Lehigh Street in Allentown, which resulted in a frontal collision with a wood utility pole installed about one foot off the traveled roadway. 

 Subject Vehicle - 92 VW Jetta
 
 92 VW Jetta Rear Seat - NO anti-submarining ramp
 
Anti-Submarining Ramp
Immediately after the accident Chelsea was unconscious, still belted in her seat, with her upper torso lying on her thighs.  Chelsea suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of this accident, including lacerations to internal organs and spinal cord injury.  These injuries resulted in paraplegia and the loss of control of her bowel and bladder.

Plaintiffs claim that the Volkswagen Jetta was not crashworthy or designed to provide the protection Chelsea needed in this accident.  Specifically, Ms. Pursell claims that the rear seat and lap belt she was wearing caused her injuries.

Chelsea Pursell suffered irreversible spinal injury because of the defectively designed rear seat system in the Volkswagen Jetta.  Plaintiffs further alleged that the vehicle in question was known by the Defendants Volkswagen to possess inherent design flaws.  Those design defects and Defendant Volkswagen's knowledge of those defects were brought out at trial by Plaintiffs' Experts Alan Cantor and Brian Benda.

The evidence showed that had the Volkswagen Defendants used alternatively designed anti-submarining seat systems and appropriately selected anchorage points for the lap belt - published in the literature for over 30 years - the Volkswagen Jetta would have been non-defective and non-injurious.

The Volkswagen Defendants claim that Mr. Young and PP&L Electric Utilities, the installer of the utility pole, are responsible parties.  Defendant Young admits he caused the accident but he disputes that his actions caused Ms. Pursell's very serious injuries.  Defendant PP& L disputes that it failed to exercise reasonable care in the placement of the utility pole or that its action was a cause of Ms. Pursell's injuries.

After a day and a half of deliberations, the jury found in favor of the Plaintiffs, rendering a  Verdict of 10.2 million dollars.

This case arises out of a collision that occurred on May 28, 2004.  At about 11:00 p.m., as Chelsea Pursell and her high school friends were leaving the Mayfair Festival located at Cedar Beach in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Chelsea and her three friends got into Kristofer Young's 1992 Volkswagen Jetta for the drive home.  Chelsea was seated in the rear center position, wearing the available lap seat belt.
 
During the drive home, Defendant Young lost control of the Jetta on Lehigh Street in Allentown, which resulted in a frontal collision with a wood utility pole installed about one foot off the traveled roadway.  Immediately after the accident Chelsea was unconscious, still belted in her seat, with her upper torso lying on her thighs.  Chelsea suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of this accident, including lacerations to internal organs and spinal cord injury.  These injuries resulted in paraplegia and the loss of control of her bowel and bladder.

Plaintiffs claim that the Volkswagen Jetta was not crashworthy or designed to provide the protection Chelsea needed in this accident.  Specifically, Ms. Pursell claims that the rear seat and lap belt she was wearing caused her injuries.

Chelsea Pursell suffered irreversible spinal injury because of the defectively designed rear seat system in the Volkswagen Jetta.  Plaintiffs further alleged that the vehicle in question was known by the Defendants Volkswagen to possess inherent design flaws.  Those design defects and Defendant Volkswagen's knowledge of those defects were brought out at trial by Plaintiffs' Experts Alan Cantor and Brian Benda.

The evidence showed that had the Volkswagen Defendants used alternatively designed anti-submarining seat systems and appropriately selected anchorage points for the lap belt - published in the literature for over 30 years - the Volkswagen Jetta would have been non-defective and non-injurious.

The Volkswagen Defendants claim that Mr. Young and PP&L Electric Utilities, the installer of the utility pole, are responsible parties.  Defendant Young admits he caused the accident but he disputes that his actions caused Ms. Pursell's very serious injuries.  Defendant PP& L disputes that it failed to exercise reasonable care in the placement of the utility pole or that its action was a cause of Ms. Pursell's injuries.

After a day and a half of deliberations, the jury found in favor of the Plaintiffs, rendering a  Verdict of 10.2 million dollars.

Pursell v. Volkswagen, was selected to VerdictsSearch's 2010 Top PA Verdicts.


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