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Man Settles Lawsuit against Chrysler over Defective Airbag
On January 22, 2003, Garry Casteel was the belted driver of a 1996 Dodge Caravan, traveling northbound in the 3900 block of Allen Genoa in Pasadena, Texas. His daughter was the belted front-seat passenger. As Casteel approached the stop-and-go traffic signal intersection of Allen Genoa and Fairmont, he had a green light to proceed northbound.
At that same time a Ford F-250, operated by an unidentified male, was traveling eastbound on Fairmont Parkway. The driver of the Ford disregarded the red light causing an accident between the two vehicles. Mr. Casteel attempted to avoid the accident by braking and steering to the right, but he was unable to do so. The entire front of his 1996 Dodge Caravan contacted the passenger side front and rear quarter panels of the Ford F-250 pickup. Casteel’s air bag did not deploy, resulting in fractures to Casteel’s C2 and C3 vertebrae.
The failure of the driver-side air bag to deploy produced severe, permanent, and disabling injuries. The passenger-side airbag deployed, as it was designed to do, preventing any severe, permanent, or disabling injuries to Casteel’s daughter.
Casteel and his wife sued Daimler Chrysler alleging strict products liability and negligence claims, in that the front driver-side airbag of the Dodge Caravan was defectively designed, manufactured, assembled, marketed, and sold.
During his hospitalization, Casteel developed aspiration pneumonia which led to several hypoxic events.
During the course of the litigation, attorneys Tony Denena and Chad Points, discovered that the 1996 Dodge Caravan was the subject of Safety Recall B24, which dealt with the airbag system, and more specifically, the clockspring, which is a device used to maintain a continuous electrical circuit between the wiring harness and the driver’s airbag module. Before the recall, the clockspring was the subject of multiple Technical Service Bulletins dating back as far as May, 2001. In this case the clockspring failed, resulting in the driver’s side airbag’s failure to deploy.
Mr. Denena and his partner Chad Points were able to reach a confidential settlement with Daimler Chrysler at mediation for Mr. and Mrs. Casteel.