In the case of Martin Oliver vs. Hitachi Koki U.S.A., which was recently won by Martin Oliver, $2.5 million dollars was awarded to him in a decision made by the jury—one of the largest in the nation for this type of personal injury case. Oliver had suffered serious injury when a nail was discharged into his head, leaving him permanently disabled. The reason for the accident to have happened was because of a speculated design defect, which Oliver’s legal representation argued was the sole cause of his injuries.
The nail gun was seen to be defective because of its contact trip mechanism. This allows for a nail to be fired as long as the nose of the gun is in contact with a surface and the trigger is pulled, meaning that the order in which this sequence is conducted is irrelevant. This defect caused Oliver to accidentally lodge a nail into his brain, and consequentially for the design to be constituted as defective. Most nail guns have a sequential trip mechanism, which keeps a nail from being fired unless contact is made with a surface and then the trigger is pulled. In reverse, the trip mechanism would prohibit the nail from firing.
Although it was argued that Oliver knew of this defect and did nothing to minimize or eliminate the risk that it posed, his attorney explained that “In California, a product is defective in design if the benefits of that design do not outweigh the risks of danger inherent in that design.” In turn, Oliver was awarded $2.5 million in compensation, as the injury keeps him from returning to work and supporting his family. If you have been the victim of a similar accident as a result of a defective product, you should seek the assistance of a local personal injury attorney, as well.