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Air Bag Hit Car Seat

Infant Suffered Brain Injury

$1.2 Million Settlement

An infant from Kirksville sued her grandfather for injuries she suffered when the air bag in his pickup truck deployed and struck her car seat.

On July 21, 2001 Alan Harker was taking his 4-day-old granddaughter, Rowan Lindley-Harker, home from the hospital in his extended-cab pickup truck. Rowan’s rear-facing car seat was in the passenger seat and Rowan’s mother was sitting on the back bench.

Harker rear-ended another vehicle, causing the truck’s air bag to deploy. The air bag struck Rowan’s car seat with such force that she suffered multiple skull fractures, which resulted in traumatic brain injury, a malformed skull and seizures. She also fractured her pelvis in several places, resulting in bilateral hip dysplasia.

The parties reached a settlement before suit was filed but judicial approval was required because of the girl’s minority. The insurance company paid the policy limits of $2 million Canadian, which converted to $1,282,152 in U.S. dollars.

Type of Action: Automobile accident

Type of Injuries: Traumatic brain injury, multiple skull fractures, bilateral hip dysplasia with multiple pelvic fractures

Court/Case Number/Date: Adair County Circuit Court/CV102-337CC/Feb. 28, 2003

Caption: Lindley-Harker v. Harker

Judge, Jury or ADR: Judge

Name of Judge: Russell E. Steele

Special Damages: $128,762 medical expenses

Verdict or Settlement: $1,282,152 settlement

Allocation of Fault: N/A

Last Offer: N/A

Last Demand: N/A

Attorneys for Plaintiff: Jay Benson (Kirksville, MO)

Insurance Carrier: Insurance Corporation of British Columbia

Plaintiff’s Experts: Dr. Susan Arnold, St. Louis (neurologist); Dr. Jeffrey Marsh, St. Louis (plastic surgeon); Dr. Jeffrey Ojemann, St. Louis (neurosurgeon); Dr. Perry Schoenecker, St. Louis (orthopedic surgeon)

Defendant’s Experts: None

Story taken from Missouri Lawyers Weekly. Vol. 17, No. 24. June 16, 2003, pp. 5.