Piccuta Law Group Files Auto Defect Product Liability Lawsuit Against Toyota and Mercedes Benz
Earlier this month, the personal injury attorneys at the Piccuta Law Group filed a new lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court. The lawsuit involves a high-speed car accident that occurred on the freeway that left the firm’s client with a traumatic brain injury. The lawsuit was filed against the manufacturers of both vehicles involved in the crash. This includes Toyota Motor Corporation and Daimler, A.G. (the makers of Mercedes Benz).
The case is entitled Wong v. Toyota Motor Corporation, Et Al. and is designated case number HG19009805. The presiding judge is Jo-Lynne Q. Lee. An initial case management conference is set for July 24, 2019 in Oakland, California.
THE CAR ACCIDENT AND RESULTING INJURIES
In March 2017, the firm’s client, Mr. Wong, was driving home from work on Interstate 880 near Hayward, California. Mr. Wong was driving his 2004 Lexus ES 330. As traffic came to a stop, Mr. Wong braked and stopped his vehicle. However, a 2017 Mercedes Benz GLE350, travelling in the lane behind Mr. Wong, failed to stop and crashed into the back of his Lexus at approximately 55-60 miles per hour.
The damage to both vehicles was severe. Both vehicles were totally destroyed. The driver of the Mercedes walked away without significant injuries. However, Mr. Wong was not so lucky. Mr. Wong lost consciousness at the scene. Emergency responders arrived and rushed Mr. Wong to the nearest trauma center.
At the trauma center, Mr. Wong was diagnosed with the following injuries: a significant brain injury resulting in inability to move the left side of his body and resulting cognitive defects; a fractured right rib; collapsed lung; focal dissection of left renal artery with 50% infraction; and a bilateral hemispheric ischemic stroke secondary to bilateral carotid artery dissection. Mr. Wong was in intensive care for weeks and hospitalized for over a month. Eventually Mr. Wong was discharged, however, he was left with significant cognitive defects as a result of the crash.
Mr. Wong is no longer able to care for himself. His wife was forced to leave her job where she worked for a tech company in Silicon Valley. She left in order to provide for Mr. Wong as a full-time caretaker. Mr. Wong is unable to drive, cook, or handle any other meaningful activities of daily living. He cannot partake in any hobbies that he previously enjoyed. The collision completely destroyed both his and his wife’s life.
THE AUTO DEFECT ALLEGATIONS ASSERTED IN THE AUTO DEFECT PRODUCT LIABILITY LAWSUIT
The claims that our firm advanced in the auto defect lawsuit both assert that Toyota and Mercedes Benz had defects in their cars that caused the severe injuries Mr. Wong sustained. As to Mercedes Benz, the vehicle was equipped with forward braking crash avoidance technology. However, despite having this feature and technology installed in the vehicle, the Mercedes plowed into the back of Mr. Wong’s car. As such, the safety feature was either inadequately designed or implemented incorrectly during the manufacturing process. Mercedes is responsible for these defects in the product it put on the road. Had the safety feature performed as advertised, Mr. Wong would not have been the victim of a severe car accident with resulting injuries.
As to Toyota, the driver seat in which Mr. Wong was sitting failed. Specifically, the seatback collapsed backward failing to support Mr. Wong. This caused Mr. Wong to lose any benefits of the seatback during the collision and resulted in him sustaining the severe injuries he suffered.
The failure of Toyota’s seatbacks are well documented. Toyota manufactures Lexus vehicles. Toyota has been sued several times for this defect and knew at the time it put the seats in Mr. Wong’s vehicle that those seatbacks had the potential to fail in a high energy, rear-end, car accident like the car accident Mr. Wong was involved in. Despite this knowledge, Toyota continued to keep the design of its seatbacks and manufactured vehicles with the defective design. This included the Lexus in which Mr. Wong was driving.
The auto defect lawsuit our firm filed asserted the following claims against both car makers: design defect, manufacturing defect and negligence. The lawsuit seeks to recover for Mr. Wong’s past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost earnings, future care needs, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, among other things. Due to the extent of Mr. Wong’s injuries, should we prevail on the claims, the recovery for Mr. Wong could be substantial and provide him with the care and attention he will need for the remainder of his life.
A LOSS OF CONSORTIUM CLAIM UNDER CALIFORNIA LAW
A loss of consortium claim was also asserted on behalf of Mrs. Wong. A loss of consortium claim is a claim that allows a spouse to recover for the deprivation of benefits he or she suffers due to an injury of a loved one. Mrs. Wong has seen her role in the marriage transform from spouse and partner to caretaker. She is now faced with overwhelming challenges and circumstances resulting from her husband’s injuries.
A loss of consortium claim is a claim that allows a spouse to recover for the deprivation of benefits he or she suffers due to an injury of a loved one.
Under California law, one can recover money for his or her own loss due to an injury to his or her husband or wife. This includes a monetary recovery for the loss of companionship and services of the injured spouse. This makes perfect sense. If the negligent or wrongful acts of another takes the person you married, as you knew them, from you—you should be able to recover.
In some cases, the spouse may suffer more than his or her loved one that was injured. The spouse is cast into a caretaker roll. The spouse may now become the sole source of income. The spouse may be responsible for all child-raising duties. The spouse is now forced to perform by his or herself the shopping, driving, cleaning and all other daily living responsibilities for the household.
California’s approved jury instruction for loss of consortium allows for the spouse to recover for the loss of the following:
- The loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support, and
- The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations or the ability to have children.
California law allows the spouse to recover for these losses and the harm the spouse suffers not just for the past, but into the future. Essentially, under California law, a spouse may recover for these damages for the rest of his or her life. California’s approved jury instruction also advises that “no fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of these damages.”
The experience of our personal injury attorneys is that no amount is satisfactory to compensate a spouse for his or her loss when the injury is significant and debilitating. Every client we have represented with a loss of consortium claim would gladly trade any amount awarded or obtained to have his or her injured spouse back to full health. Unfortunately, money cannot solve the problem and cure the injured client. It can, however, help the family and spouse with the challenges that lie ahead and ease the burden that they are now faced with.
If you or a loved one suffered a significant injury, contact the attorneys at the Piccuta Law Group today. Our personal injury attorneys have experience in advancing serious injury claims on behalf of those that are in the greatest need. We handle complex cases and find ways to recover that many other attorneys are incapable of. We are available now to discuss your case and provide a free consultation.
About the author: The content on this page was authored and prepared by Monterey personal injury and civil rights attorney Charles Tony Piccuta. He graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington in 2006 (Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report 2018). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Consumer Attorneys of California, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Arizona Association of Justice, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact one of our attorneys and discuss your specific case and issues.