Choi v. Toyota

November 2005

Plaintiffs, a mother in her mid-30’s, her husband and two small children, sued Toyota Motor Corp., alleging that the airbag in the family’s 1996 Toyota Corolla was too powerful and should have been depowered.

The mother was wearing a properly adjusted 3-point lap shoulder belt when the car that she was driving veered across 3 lanes of traffic and the breakdown lane of the Massachusetts Turnpike and hit a breakaway sign post. The impact caused the car’s airbags to inflate. The car became airborne and rotated, rolled over at least once and possibly twice and landed on its wheels. A state trooper who observed the accident found the driver in her seat, properly belted, but paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a broken neck. After 27 trial days and 3 days of deliberations, the jury issued a verdict for the defense, finding no negligence and no breach of warranty.

Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy, P.C. established, through methodical biomechanical analysis of the case, that the driver could not have sustained her neck injury during airbag deployment. The injuries which caused the paralysis were in fact caused by reflection of the neck which are not the same as those caused by extension of the neck such as would arise from an airbag.

The Appeal

This case was subsequently appealed and Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy, P.C. also won the appeal.