July 29, 2002
Man awarded U.S.14.4 million for injuries in Nissan Maxima crash
Short Hills, New Jersey – A man who suffered paralyzing injuries after a head-on collision in his 1995 Nissan Maxima was awarded U.S.14.4 million dollars by a New Jersey jury on Friday.
On October 31, 1997, William Ziemer, a 45-year old husband and father of three small children, was driving his 1995 Nissan Maxima GXE when a car coming the other way crossed the centre line. The front driver’s side of each car impacted.
Mr. Ziemer sustained permanent brain damage as well as extensive and severe lower extremity injury. He will never walk again and has the mentality of a child.
Product liability attorney Cynthia A. Walters of Short Hills, NJ, argued that the car was defective due to its lack of crashworthiness due to design elements that permitted unreasonable intrusion into the driver compartment causing the catastrophic injuries.
It was shown at trial that the identical car was sold in Europe with the reinforcements that would have protected Mr. Ziemer and that they were not added to US models until 1996.
“This verdict shows that automobile manufacturers who have the technology must use it to protect occupants of their cars,” stated Ms. Walters.
The jury award consisted of U.S.$3.5 million for Mr. Ziemer’s loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering; U.S.$4.2 million for future care and medical costs; U.S.$1.2 million in lost wages; U.S.$2.5 million for his wife and U.S.$1 million for each of the children.