Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay millions of dollars to a brain-damaged woman whose lawyers blamed her collision injuries on the lack of a back-seat shoulder harness in her 1981 Celica.
Toyota settled Tuesday for a reported $6 million, even though federal law did not require rear shoulder harnesses until 1990.The settlement came in the middle of 22-year-old Jennifer Anderson's lawsuit.
The former prom queen and gymnast spent weeks in a coma after her '81 Celica collided with a tractor-trailer in 1994. Her boyfriend and another man were in the front seat and secured by belts with shoulder harnesses. They suffered lesser injuries.
Anderson still struggles with partial paralysis, memory loss and other problems but has been able to take classes at a community college.
Her lawyers argued that she suffered abdominal and head injuries when her skull hit the back of the front seat because she was wearing only a lap belt.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, citing sources it did not identify, said the settlement amounted to $6 million. Some of it will be paid by Keller Truck Service, whose truck was involved in the collision.
"The Andersons are relieved and happy to have this part of the ordeal over with," said their attorney, J. William Lucco.