Jury Awards $43 Million to Woman Paralyzed by Car Seat

Product liability lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report of a recent verdict, believed to be the largest jury verdict in Vermont history, which awarded $43.1 million to a woman paralyzed by a car seat that collapsed on her during a car accident.

The jury reached its verdict, against car seat manufacturer Johnson Controls Inc., after about two weeks of trial and seven hours of deliberation. The crash occurred in August 2007, when the plaintiff, Dzemila A. Heco, was driving her 2000 Dodge Neon down Vermont 15 in Essex. Heco was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by a 17-year-old female, who told police she had fallen asleep at the wheel.

When the cars collided (Heco was stopped at a stop light and the teen was going about 35 miles per hour), Heco’s car seat back collapsed onto her, causing severe spinal cord injuries. She initially listed about 33 codefendants when she first filed her case in 2010, but by 2012, all but Johnson Controls and Midstate Dodge were dismissed.

Midstate Dodge later settled with Heco outside of court in an undisclosed amount. Heco is a Bosnian refugee who came to America with her two sons to escape Sarajevo after her husband was killed. She worked three jobs to support her sons, and is now unable to work any of them.

In related news in Chicago, ten people were recently injured in a multiple-vehicle pileup on the Dan Ryan Expressway on the South Side. The crash involved a limousine, truck, and at least two cars, and one motorist has been charged with a DUI. Of those injured, three were taken to nearby hospitals in serious-to-critical condition, one in fair-to-serious condition, and six declined to be hospitalized.

A man in Iowa recently filed a lawsuit against Fresenius Medical Care after he suffered a heart attack from the manufacturer’s GranuFlo, which led to a fatal car accident. The plaintiff suffers from kidney issues, requiring dialysis treatment three times a week at a local hospital. About an hour after his appointment at the University of Iowa Hospital in March 2011, he started feeling sick and light-headed.

He had to go into work later that day, however, and suffered a heart attack while behind the wheel, losing consciousness. His truck then veered out of his lane and into oncoming traffic, causing a collision with a van containing a family of three. The van’s driver subsequently died from the impact, and his wife and small child were hospitalized. The plaintiff was severely injured as well, sustaining a broken hip, femur, and shattered pelvis.

GranuFlo is an inherently dangerous product and has been subject to massive litigation in recent years, along with its counterpart, NaturaLyte. The products are used during hemodialysis to offset the acid produced when kidneys malfunction. GranuFlo and NaturaLyte contain large amounts of sodium acetate, which converts to sodium bicarbonate at unusually high levels. Thousands of dialysis patients have reported accidental sodium overdoses from being treated with these products, which put patients at a risk of cardiac arrest six times higher than that of competing dialysis products.

Unfortunately, these dosing errors have led to the wrongful deaths of many dialysis patients, leading to a GranuFlo and NaturaLyte recall in 2012. Other serious side effects from these products include metabolic lkalosis, stroke, low blood pressure, and death; all side effects that Fresenius has known about since at least 2011, when it released an internal memo noting the increased risk of cardiac arrest and other heart problems.

GranuFlo and NaturaLyte lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are currently investigating claims of cardiac episodes from dialysis treatment with these products. If you or a loved one was seriously injured after receiving GranuFlo or NaturaLyte, you may be entitled to significant compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, or wrongful death, and should contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible.


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