Carlos Martinez, 57, was driving to work in Baltimore when a tire blew out and he lost control of his vehicle, an Acura Integra. Acura is a division of Honda. The car rolled over and, according to his lawyer, the seat belt failed to prevent Martinez’s head from hitting the roof of the car. Martinez contended Honda knew that this type of injury was possible because of seat belt testing it conducted in 1992. Honda has denied any problems with the seat belt.
Martinez, a married father of four, was employed in construction as a glazier but can no longer work because he is paralyzed from the chest down. The $55.3M verdict includes compensation for pain and suffering, future medical expenses, loss of consortium and loss of earnings. Honda told reporters it will appeal the decision.