Texas—A jury recently ordered Volkswagen’s Audi unit to pay $124.5 million in a case involving a car accident that left an 11-year-old boy brain-damaged and partially paralyzed.
2012 Audi Seatback Accident
Back in 2012, Jesse Rivera Sr. was driving with his young son, Jesse Rivera Jr. when he stopped for a school bus. The Riveras were hit from behind.
The front seat collapsed, and Rivera Sr. slid backward, hitting his head on his son’s in the back seat. The child, who was 7 years old at the time, suffered massive head injuries when his head collided with his father’s head during the crash. Jesse Rivera Jr. was left partially paralyzed and blind in his right eye. His father was not injured.
The impact of the crash, Rivera’s attorney Fidel Rodriguez told the jury during closing argument, forced the father’s head to the rear where it collided with the child’s head. The child was seated in the back seat directly behind his father.
This week, the San Antonio jury found Audi 55% responsible for the boy’s injuries; the jury assigned 25% of the blame to the driver who rear-ended the Riveras, and 20% to the boy’s father.
Audi Responds To Verdict
Audi denied any defects or fault for the boy’s injuries. Mark Clothier, a company spokesperson said that Audi is “not pleased with the verdict and we will evaluate the next steps to be taken.”
“It’s worth noting that neither the driver nor the injured boy was wearing seat belts, nor was the boy seated in a booster seat,” Clothier added.
The verdict does not include punitive damages.
Audi Recall Attorneys
This isn’t the first time Volkswagen’s Audi vehicle became engulfed in a scandal. Last September, the German automaker was found to have falsified emission and pollution tests on 500,000 diesel engine vehicles sold in the United States.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency charged Volkswagen with installing defeat devices on specific VW and Audi engines which deceived emissions tests across many states.
Worldwide, about five million VW brand cars were affected including the Passat, Golf, Jetta, and Beetle. The cars were banned in several countries while the investigation was pending.