JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly two years after a girl was critically injured in a car crash in Duval County, her family’s attorneys have filed a civil lawsuit against Honda, saying the family’s minivan had dangerous design flaws.
Lily Bateman was 7 at the time when she was riding in the third row of her family’s 2007 Honda Odyssey when a Jeep rear-ended them on Normandy Boulevard in August 2019. The Bateman family had just picked supplies to begin homeschooling the next day.
Kristina Bateman, the girl’s mother, said Lily Bateman and her three younger children were in the van at the time of the crash that left her eldest with a traumatic brain injury and broken bones. Lily Bateman spent three months in the hospital.
“Life just changed completely,” Kristina Bateman said Wednesday morning. “We were really outdoorsy. She loved to dance, do gymnastics, and it’s been life-changing for her.”
Lily Bateman is in therapy daily. Kristina Bateman told News4Jax that her daughter is doing well, all things considered.
“We have a lot of work to do. She’s still doing therapy every day. There are things that we realize we didn’t expect,” Kristina Bateman said while holding back tears. “Occupational and physical therapy every week, multiple times a week. There’s been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of emotional things that she’s had to deal with.”
The Law Firm of Pajcic & Pajcic, representing the Bateman family, on Wednesday filed the civil lawsuit against Honda Manufacturing of Alabama LLC, Honda Motor Company LTD, American Honda Motor Company Inc. and the driver of the Jeep for $75,000 for negligent operation, strict liability and negligence.
The lawsuit cites dangerous manufacturing defects, including the Odyssey riding too low to the ground to prevent overrides, the placement of the third row sitting too far back into what attorneys call the “crush zone,” and the lack of pretensioners in the third row, which tighten the seatbelt in a crash.
“Because there’s no petitioner, she rides up above the headrest in the third row, so this intrusion hit her in the back of the head,” said Seth Pajcic, of Pajcic & Pajcic.
“Life just changed completely,” said Kristina Bateman. Her daughter, Lily, was 7 when a jeep rear-ended their Honda Odyssey. Pajcic firm filed lawsuit against other driver involved & Honda. It cites dangerous manufacturing defects that led to Lily’s traumatic brain injury. @wjxt pic.twitter.com/eidsB41rZZ— Brittany Muller (@BrittMullerNews) May 12, 2021
Kristina Bateman said the lawsuit is a step forward.
The law firm said Lily Bateman will need a lifetime of medical care. Her mother hopes to get her daughter a brain injury specialist since insurance won’t cover it.
The firm said this isn’t the first lawsuit of this kind against Honda. It’s hoping to gain the attention of the motor company and politicians to make safety changes.
Honda told News4Jax that American Honda Motor Company Inc. on Wednesday afternoon that it had not yet been served with the lawsuit, and it generally does not comment on pending litigation.