$59.8 Million Awarded In Car Crash

The Washington Post


$59.8 Million Awarded In Car Crash


The Washington Post - Metro Section
Saturday May 13, 2000
Page B3

A Baltimore Circuit Court jury awarded a Bowie man who was severely injured in a 1997 car crash $59.8 million yesterday, holding the carmaker responsible for failing to adequately warn him of the danger of riding in a reclined seat. The verdict is thought to be the largest of its kind in the country.

Prashant Kumar, 26, was riding in a Toyota Tercel traveling on a New Jersey highway when it collided with an oncoming car. The driver of the car Kumar was in survived the accident without injury, but Kumar, whose seat was reclined, slid under the seat belt. His legs were crushed and later amputated.

The jury found that Toyota Motor Corp. was partly responsible for the injuries because it only warns about the danger of riding in reclined seats in the seldom-read owners manuals that come with each car. Michael Morgenstern, Kumar’s attorney, said he and his client were willing to forgo half the verdict and legal fees if Toyota starts using dashboard stickers warning passengers about reclining their seats.