A Florida jury said Friday that Ford Motor Co. should pay $16.95 million to a 35-year-old woman who was paralyzed when she slid under her seat belt during a collision, her attorney said.
The woman, Tami Martin, was reclining in the front passenger seat of a 1998 Windstar van when it hit another vehicle, injuring her spinal cord, said Robert Langdon, Martin's attorney.
Martin said Ford failed to warn of the dangers of using reclining seats while a vehicle was in motion.
A jury in Jacksonville, Fla., found that Ford failed to properly warn Martin and was responsible for her injuries. Ford will appeal, spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said.
"This was a tragic accident caused when the driver fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a stationary ambulance," Vokes said. "The air bag deployed as it should have, but the passenger was reclined in her seat with her feet resting on the dashboard."
Martin was injured in 1999 while she was a passenger in the Windstar driven by her mother. Martin wouldn't have been hurt in the low-speed collision if she hadn't been reclining, Langdon said.