Cohen Milstein represents individuals, and their families, who suffered catastrophic injury or death as a result of motor vehicle accidents resulting in multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements in state and federal courts around the United States.

We litigate all types of motor vehicle, car safety, and crashworthiness-design-defect product liability and personal injury claims against many of the leading car and automotive parts manufacturers, including Ford, General Motors, Honda, Kia, Tesla, Toyota, Takata, Caterpillar, Cummins, PACCAR, Polaris, and others.

Some of our lawsuits have helped set industry precedent, including our discovery efforts in Mincey v. Takata, which helped to further the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into Takata Corporation and its subsequent recall of Takata airbags – one of the largest recalls in U.S. history.

We also track recall notices issued by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) on our U.S. Product Recalls web page, accessible here.


Our Practice

Crashworthiness and motor vehicle safety is a rapidly evolving area of tort law because of technology advancements in vehicle design, computer-automated driving systems, safety countermeasures, and occupant safety equipment.

We focus on the following types of motor vehicle, car safety, and crashworthiness-design defect litigation:

  • Airbag, Seat Belts, and Occupant Restraint Systems
  • Acceleration and Braking Systems
  • Autonomous, Autopilot, and Cruise Control Systems
  • Crash and Safety Sensor Systems
  • Accidents Involving Rollovers and Roof Collapse Accidents
  • Multi-vehicle Accidents
  • Tire Tread Separations and Failures
  • Child Safety Systems, including Child Booster Seats

Vehicle Types:

  • Passenger Cars and Trucks
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Tractor Trailers
  • Heavy Truck Underride and Engine Systems
  • School Bus Stability and Safety Systems
  • Alternative Fuel Vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • All-Terrain Vehicles

Our People

Cohen Milstein’s Motor Vehicle Safety, Crashworthiness & Design Defects team include nationally recognized trial lawyers, who are highly regarded for their subject-matter expertise in automotive safety and highway design. For instance:

  • Theodore J. Leopold, Co-Chair of the Complex Tort Litigation practice, is a nationally recognized trial lawyer. In 2016, Mr. Leopold was the lead trial lawyer in Mincey v. Takata, a novel airbag design defect dispute and catastrophic injury dispute. The discovery in this lawsuit helped influence the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into Takata and one of the largest defective product recall in automobile history. Mr. Leopold was also the co-lead trial lawyer in a $131 million jury verdict against the Ford Motor Company (Cole v. Ford) the ninth-largest verdict against an automobile company in U.S. history at the time.  
  • Leslie M. Kroeger, Co-Chair of the Complex Tort Litigation practice, is a highly accomplished trial attorney who is co-leading the Lindsay X-Lite Guardrail Litigation lawsuits, a series of product defect and wrongful death lawsuits in Tennessee and South Carolina, involving not only complex highway system design failures. In 2015, Ms. Kroeger was awarded Florida Justice Association’s Champion of Consumer Safety Award for her lobbying efforts before the Florida legislature, resulting in the passage of SB 518, a state law requiring children under age five to be secured in federally-approved child-restraint devices in automobiles.
  • Adam J. Langino, Of Counsel, is an experienced, hands-on trial attorney, who has tried more than 20 jury trial cases in his career. Prior to his work in private practice, Mr. Langino served for three years as an Assistant Public Defender in Florida.
  • Poorad Razavi, Senior Associate, focuses on products liability, vehicle defects, roadway design and maintenance defects, trucking and car accidents lawsuits that also involve wrongful death and catastrophic injury. Mr. Razavi is former civil litigation defense attorney, which provides clients the benefit of a unique perspective into the mindset of insurance companies and corporate defendants, and how to maximize the value of a claim.

Our Cases

  • Paz-Orjales v. Ford Motor Company: Cohen Milstein successfully represented the plaintiff against the Ford in a product failure and catastrophic injury lawsuit. Due to a defective design, the roof of the Ford truck, in which Mr. Paz-Orjales was a passenger, collapsed and crushed him in a rollover accident.
  • Mincey v. Takata: Cohen Milstein successfully represented the plaintiff in an airbag defect and catastrophic injury lawsuit. Ms. Mincey was paralyzed when the driver’s side airbag, manufactured by Takata Corporation, in her car deployed too aggressively during a vehicle collision. The injuries Ms. Mincey sustained in the accident ultimately led to her death. This litigation was groundbreaking. The plaintiff alleged that Takata knowingly hid the airbag defect from consumers. The case was settled immediately before a hearing was to be held on Plaintiff’s motions to depose the CEO of Takata and to amend the complaint to plead a claim for punitive damages. The discovery in this case influenced the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into Takata and one of the largest defective product recalls in automobile history.
  • Cole v. Ford: Mr. Leopold was co-trial attorney for the family of former New York Mets infielder Brian Cole who was killed when the Ford Explorer he was driving rolled over, ejecting him from the vehicle. The lawsuit charged that the seat belt in the Explorer was defective in that it failed to keep Mr. Cole in his seat. Following two hung juries, eleven of the 12 jury members, in the third trial, agreed on the verdict and found for the Cole family in the amount of $131 million – reportedly, the ninth largest jury verdict of its kind in U.S. history.
  • Brannen v. Ford: After a three-week trail, a jury awarded a $4 million verdict against Ford Motor Corporation, finding that the fuel system of a 2005 Ford F-150 was defective and that the fuel released from the system, as a result of an auto accident, fed the accident fire, causing catastrophic injuries to Ms. Brannen.
  • Palmer v. Baylines Inc.: Cohen Milstein successfully represented the Palmer family in a two-pronged catastrophic injury and product safety lawsuit in which a driver of an on-coming heavy-duty truck fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the Palmer’s vehicle. The airbags failed to deploy properly, resulting in the death of Mrs. Palmer.
  • Quinlan v. Toyota Motor Corporation: Cohen Milstein successfully resolved an acceleration product defect and catastrophic injury case, in which, the plaintiff argued that although the defendants publicly admitted to two mechanical defects that caused unintended acceleration (floor mats and sticky pedals), they failed  to  disclose  that  defects  in  the  electronic  throttle  control  system  were  also  causing unintended the acceleration.
  • Yamauchi, et al. v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al.: Cohen Milstein successfully resolved an automobile crashworthiness lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corporation. The plaintiff was rendered a quadriplegic because her vehicle’s side and frontal airbags deployed during a minor impact.