On August 28, 2014, following a month-long Federal Court product liability trial, airbag control maker TRW Automotive U.S. LLC was held legally responsible for the permanent injuries and damages a young woman sustained on April 27, 2007, when her airbag failed to deploy during a high speed frontal collision with a power pole on Nellis Boulevard, in Las Vegas. The trial was presided over by the Honorable Jennifer Dorsey.
After less than six hours of deliberations, a panel of eight jurors unanimously awarded Nicole Thompson $3,350,000.00 for the permanent injuries and damages she had suffered after TRW had intentionally suppressed her airbags during the above collision.
Nicole Thompson, who was 19 years old at the time, had been traveling southbound on Nellis Boulevard when a vehicle to her left sideswiped her car, causing it to veer to the right and crash into the pole.
Unanimous Jury Verdict for Plaintiff in a Nevada Airbag Lawsuit!
TRW had originally designed the airbag electronic control module (“AECM”) that functioned as the electronic brain for the airbag system. The AECM had suppressed both of Ms. Thompson’s frontal airbags and prevented them from deploying when her 1998 Dodge Neon crashed into the power pole, virtually head on, at approximately 30 mph.
Following the collision, Ms. Thompson was transported to UMC hospital for what initially appeared to be minor injuries. While her parents were waiting for their daughter to be discharged, Ms. Thompson suffered a massive stroke, which the jury causally linked to the suppression of her airbags. The stroke resulted in permanent partial paralysis of her right hand and some brain damage. Ms. Thompson underwent months of occupational and physical therapy, just so she could learn to walk and talk again. After the crash, Ms. Thompson lost a college scholarship she had earned, along with her ability to play the violin, which she had done for almost seven years as a member of her school orchestra.
The same AECM the jury determined was defective in Ms. Thompson’s vehicle can also be found in hundreds of thousands of other 1998 Dodge Neons that are still on the road today.
Ms. Thompson was co-represented by Edward J. Achrem, Esq., of Edward J. Achrem & Associates, Ltd., and by Clay Robbins III, Esq., of Magana Cathcart & McCarthy.
Although Ms. Thompson’s attorneys anticipate that the Defendant will appeal the verdict, they and their client remain hopeful that TRW will now re-examine its product to ensure the continued safety of the traveling public.