On  May 24, 2017, Cohen Milstein attorneys Theodore J. Leopold, Leslie M. Kroeger, and Poorad Razavi, along with New York co-counsel, Joseph E. O’Connor of Mainetti, Mainetti, & O’Connor, P.C., filed a product liability and personal injury complaint against Toyota Motor Corporation, Autoliv, and related entities on behalf of Saori Yamauchi. Mrs. Yamauchi sustained a catastrophic injury during an accident in her Toyota Sienna as a result of the vehicle’s airbag system deploying in a dangerous manner.

Background

On September 1, 2016, Mrs. Yamauchi was properly seat belted and driving her 2011 Toyota Sienna minivan in Fishkill, New York.  As she approached an intersection with a green light, another vehicle failed to stop at a red signal and struck Mrs. Yamauchi’s vehicle as she was making a legal left turn. Although the force of the impact was far below the expected catastrophic-injury threshold, Mrs. Yamauchi suffered a devastating injury in that she was rendered, a quadriplegic. 

In the accident, the Sienna sustained an impact to the front of the minivan.  The van’s occupant protection system deployed the front and side curtain airbags.  Based upon safety design protocol, the side curtain airbag should not have deployed in this frontal impact.  Furthermore, not only did the side curtain airbag deploy, but it deployed late in the accident sequence, striking Mrs. Yamauchi when she was out of position, resulting in violent forces being exerted unevenly upon her body, breaking her neck.  Rather than protecting her from injury, the deployment of the side curtain airbag caused Mrs. Yamauchi’s devastating injuries, leaving her catastrophically and permanently disabled. 

Mrs. Yamauchi’s case is currently being litigated in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Dutchess County.