Roe v. Doe, et al. (confidential as to defendant(s), specific product and the insurers)
On September 2, 2017, Plaintiff Roe, 45, was a properly belted and helmeted passenger in an off-road recreational vehicle, commonly referred to as a side-by-side. The driver was operating the vehicle on a u-shaped “rhythm track,” which consists of a series of small hills. As they crested one hill, the side-by-side’s nose dipped down, causing it to roll over onto the roll cage, which Plaintiff alleged was a foreseeable and common occurrence. The roll cage collapsed, and Plaintiff Roe was rendered quadriplegic.
Plaintiff Roe sued the operator of the vehicle and the manufacturer of the side-by-side off-road vehicle. Plaintiff Roe’s counsel purchased several exemplar vehicles and recreated the forces of the collision in what is commonly called a “drop test.”
Plaintiff’s counsel, by way of expert consulting, created a simple alternative design costing approximately $30. Plaintiff’s counsel and experts then performed a drop test of the vehicle with the alternative design roll cage and proved that it fixed the occupant compartment crush issues and would have protected Plaintiff Roe. Plaintiff Roe uncovered evidence that the Defendant manufacturer marketed and sold the product despite knowing the roll cage failed their own internal strength standards and testing.
At the time of settlement, Plaintiff Roe’s past medical expenses were $2,709,116. The cost of Plaintiff’s future life care plan was approximately $8.4 million. Plaintiff Roe had previously been gainfully employed earning approximately $60,000 a year. Plaintiff Roe was inpatient hospitalized for approximately six months, and thereafter cared for by his family at home.
The settlement was reached shortly before trial, which was represented to be the largest pre-trial settlement in Georgia history. The entire settlement was paid by the Defendant manufacturer and its insurers.