$6.5M Awarded in Defective Seat Belt Injury

A judgment against Ford Motor Company was awarded to a Tennessee teen’s family after he was paralyzed from the waist down in a 2002 car crash that killed other family members.

Billy Meals was a rear seat passenger in his grandfather’s Ford when they were struck head-on by John Harris, who was also killed in the accident. Billy was wearing his seat belt. However due to his size, the adult seat belt did not fit properly and the shoulder strap was located behind his back. The Memphis Tennessee Court found that Ford was responsible for the boy’s enhanced injuries. They also found Billy’s father to be 15% at fault as the custodial parent. The defendant, John Harris, who was intoxicated and tested positive for cocaine was found to be 70% at fault.

This was not a North Carolina car accident. Car crashes in North Carolian fall under contributory negligence - which means if one party was even 1% at fault and contributed to their own injuries, they may not make a claim against the other party.

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