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$9.8M Awarded in Defective Wheelchair Injury Lawsuit


This is a settlement for the Defective Product lawsuit.

Santa Clara, CA: A $9.8 million settlement has been awarded to a 35-year old plaintiff who suffered injuries resulting from defects in his wheelchair. The defective wheelchair personal injury lawsuit, filed in San Diego, alleged plaintiff Toby Morin suffered life altering injuries as a result of defective design, manufacture, warnings and repair. Further, a design change to the Quickie Q7 manual wheelchair he used was also defective and dangerous.

The jury heard evidence that the Quickie Q7 manual wheelchair, designed and manufactured by Sunrise Medical (US) LLC and sold/repaired by National Seating & Mobility, Inc. was launched in 2009. Its design at that time included bolts on the wheelchair seat frame that were installed with the threaded ends facing away from the wheelchair occupant. Morin purchased a Quickie Q7 after having been evaluated for a wheelchair by National Seating in 2011.

In 2012, Sunrise implemented a design change to the orientation of the backrest bolts on the Q7 following complaints that the bolts were backing out. The design change called for the bolts to be orientated with the threaded ends facing inward. Morin's wheelchair underwent the design change in 2013.

During the summer of 2014, Morin suffered a puncture wound in his lower extremity caused by one of the inward facing bolts. One month later, the wound was aggravated when a seat screw and aluminum seat rail failed, causing the seating area to collapse and eject plaintiff from his wheelchair. Despite receiving medical treatment for the puncture wound, it has remained open for nearly three years, and the incident only served to aggravate it.

During the trial, experts for the plaintiff testified that Morin’s wound and nerve-related injury will require nearly $5,000,000 in future care, and may never fully resolve.

Morin contended that the design change resulted in the bolts facing inward (toward the wheelchair occupant) and is dangerous and defective, and that the instructions provided to National Seating by Sunrise are inadequate and negligent. Morin also presented evidence to show that the screws and aluminum rail used to secure the wheelchair seat were fundamentally too weak to support an average user, and that such design was also dangerous and defective.

The trial took just 15 days and the jury only two to reach its decision. It awarded economic damages for a life care plan of $4,800,000, and non-economic damages to include $3,000,000. Future non-economic damages were awarded in the amount of $2,000,000.

The case is: Toby Morin v. Sunrise Medical (US) LLC and National Seating & Mobility, Inc. San Diego Superior Court / 2015-00027916.

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Published on Jul-20-17


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